Saudi Green Card scheme to be restricted to expat experts and investors

Published:  17 Jun at 6 PM
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Expats celebrating the original announcement of Saudi Arabia’s proposed Green Card have been badly let down by a further announcement restricting the card to foreign investors and highly qualified experts from overseas.

The formerly announced Green Card was to resemble the USA residence model, giving security to expat professionals who’d given of their skills to the kingdom over years. The latest announcement has disappointed many who had welcomed the chance to acquire permanent residency but are now disbarred due to the elite nature of the new restrictions.

Meanwhile, a Saudi national involved in social research has announced findings which show expatriates outnumbering Saudi nationals in the province of Jubail and the city of Jeddah. According to Mohammed Alsubaei, 2015 statistics show 2.13 million expatriates as against 1.9 million Saudis living in Jeddah, an increase on previous figures. In Jubail province, expats total 243,000 as against 205,000 Saudis.

Alsubaei, president of the Ethar Forum for Research and Social Studies, stated in an Arab News article that the statistics are alarming as regards their effect on the kingdom’s cultural, economic and social norms. He is suggesting the Saudi government discuss means by which a more appropriate balance is created between numbers of expatriates versus numbers of Saudis.

His suggestions for discussion include the protection of Jeddah from expat numbers growth in order to preserve its identity. He also believes that limiting contact between Saudis and foreigners would lessen the risk to citizens’ lifestyles and culture. At the present time, the total of foreigners working in Saudi Arabia has reached 10.4 million of the entire population of 31.5 million.
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