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Thu 5 Dec 2019 02:50 PM

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Saudi Arabia to grant citizenship to highly qualified, innovative expats

Saudi citizenship will be considered for those working in technology, agriculture, nuclear and renewable energy, oil and gas, AI and medical and forensic science

Saudi Arabia to grant citizenship to highly qualified, innovative expats

Currently, Saudi law allows for the naturalisation of expatriates who have called the kingdom home for five years or more – although it requires a Saudi sponsor.

Saudi Arabia plans to grant citizenship to foreigners working in sectors including medicine and technology, according to a royal decree by the kingdom’s King Salman.

The move is part of a wider bid to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil and lessen its dependence on petrochemicals.

In a Tweet, the Saudi Project – a government entity – said that the move is aimed at attracting “scientists, intellectuals and innovators from around the world to enable the kingdom to become a diverse hub…that the Arab World would be proud of.”

Citizenship will be considered for those working in technology, agriculture, nuclear and renewable energy, oil and gas, AI and medical and forensic science.

The programme will also be open to those working in sports and culture to help “contribute and support the enhancement of Saudi competencies and knowledge that will benefit the general public.”

Currently, Saudi law allows for the naturalisation of expatriates who have called the kingdom home for five years or more – although it requires a Saudi sponsor.

In November, Saudi authorities began issuing “premium” residence visas for investors, as well as financiers, doctors and engineers who wish to live in the country.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia launched its new tourist visas in September, which allow visitors to enter the country multiple times.