30th August 2017

SAUDI ARABIA: Major changes to be made with regards to hiring foreign nationals

Effective 3 September 2017, significant changes will be made to the Nitaqat scheme which will affect the hiring of foreign nationals.

In a bid to boost recruitment of Saudi nationals - which has been supported recently by raising fees for residence permits - the authorities will require employers to first hire locals before being able to hire foreign nationals for certain positions.

Employers must improve their higher tier rating  before they are allowed to  hire foreign nationals. Only high green or platinum tier companies will be eligible for a ‘Block Visa’ - which is the Saudi equivalent to an Expat Quota.To be categorised as high green or platinum an employer will have to hire more Saudi nationals.

The new rules will apply to companies with 6 employees or more, whereas previously it had been companies with 10 employees or more.


How does this affect the client?

Obtaining a Block Visa can already pose a challenge for employers in Saudi Arabia, but these new changes will require even more advance planning and possible restructuring. Employers hoping to hire foreign nationals will have to ensure that a proper recruitment policy is in place for local nationals before even considering hiring foreign nationals.


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