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Sat 20 Mar 2010 02:20 PM

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No change in Saudi's family visa rules - paper

Kingdom's family visa rules still linked to profession stated on one's iqama - official.

No change in Saudi's family visa rules - paper
(Getty Images)

Government officials in Saudi Arabia have denied recent media reports that there have been changes in the Kingdom’s visa rules for the dependants of expatriate workers, according to a report.

The Arab News daily reported that the English and Arabic media had claimed that high-earning expatriates working in the Kingdom on low-category work visas would be allowed to bring their families into the country on permanent resident visas.

A Dammam isteqdam (family visa) official speaking on request of anonymity told Arab News that the reports were not true.

“The family visa is very much linked to the profession on your iqama. We have issued and are issuing family visas to only those in white-collar jobs such as engineers, doctors and executives. The financial status of the applicant is only one of the conditions.”

The iqama is an official identity card depicting an individual as a resident of the Kingdom.

The official said that  no-professionals, such as those who are listed on their iqamas and work permits as labourers, masons, electricians and so forth, will have their applications for family visas rejected automatically. “The rules are clear-cut. Professionals — yes; non-professionals — no,” he said.

According to the daily, this stance is due to the general assumption in government circles that those listed as labourers or drivers on their iqamas will not be able to meet the expenses of their families.

Yet there are many expatriates in the Kingdom who are working in top jobs and are earning healthy salaries, yet are only classed as labourers or similar on their iqamas, Arab News added.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

Sridhar Kadambi 10 years ago

There's a story that goes as follows: A new Lion was admitted to the Riyadh Zoo. He came directly from the African jungle and was as proud as any good King of the Jungle can be. The first day in the zoo: the zoo keeper brings him a big bunch of bananas for his meal. King looks at at it, and snaps his fingers to attract the attention of the zoo keeper - "What the heck is this?" Asks the lion, and the keeper says, "That's your meal!" The lion says, "Don't you know who I am?" Zoo keeper says, "Sure I know you're a lion, King of the Jungle and all that, but your Iqama says you're on a Monkey's visa!!" That's the sad story out there, ladies & gentlemen! May God bless Saudi Arabia and give everyone a lot of sense and happiness!! I have lived there for 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed my life when I was there, but there are some hilarious moments that we should try to forget!!!!!!!

Alag 10 years ago

Hello Sridhar, I do not know that when you had actually left Saudi Arabia. But, last year,they promulgated a law that says that,you would be automaticall given Saudi (permanent) residency....rest of your life...if you were lived there for 25 years continuously ......irrespective of these 'classes / categories'!!! Do you know that?...This is ONLY an UPDATE for those who are currently living there....with a hope of becoming 100% life-time-resident,by buying assets out there in KSA!!!Inshallah,this law is truly passed,and approved by the country's leadership!!!

debbie 10 years ago

it is so true the way this 'aqama' business works. and to alag, keep dreaming, there will never be permanent residency for foreigners outside of a job in saudi or anywhere in gcc.