Saudi Arabia eases Iqama rules

Thu 28 Jan 2021, 12:06:24
Jeddah: In a big relief for many expats, Saudi Arabia has allowed issuance and renewal of residency permits known as Iqamas for a minimum period of three months.

The Saudi Cabinet presided by King Salman on Tuesday approved the change, official news agency SPA reported.

Since fees for the renewal of work and residency permits can be split up and paid based on the duration of the issued and renewed permits, it comes as a relief to all parties especially dependents.

However, domestic workers such as maids, house drivers and similar category employees were not included in the change.

Currently issuance of Iqama and renewal costing 9,850 riyals that includes Labour Ministry fee but excluding insurance. The entire amount is being paid in one go for per annum irrespective of less duration.

Several Indian families who want to send their families back after annual academic examinations were relieved with the news.

This is part of reforms initiated by Saudi ministry of Human Resources and Social development to enhance competitive and healthy employment environment in the country where seven decades old current Kafala system regulates the affairs.

The mandatory contractual relationship between the employee and the employer and exit and re-entry visas without consent of the sponsor are other salient features of new labour reforms that are set to take effect in March 2021.

The new reforms come as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to diversify the economy and attract high-skilled workers to the country.

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