Rights and benefits of the Saudi ‘Green Card’
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The Kingdom is continuing its development and reform plans within Vision 2030 to develop its economy and enhance the attractiveness of its investment environment. (AFP)
New visa move will allow residents and expatriates to play a more active role in Saudi economy
Updated 22 May 2019
May 20, 2019 00:21
JEDDAH: The Um Al-Qura newspaper, the official gazette of the Saudi government, has published new information concerning the laws and regulations of the Privileged Iqama, widely known as the Saudi “Green Card.” It also carried the conditions under which the Iqama can be canceled.
Following the announcement of the Saudi Cabinet’s approval of the Privileged Iqama residency permit, as previously reported by Arab News, the new information offers a further look at the Privileged Resident Permit (iqama) scheme.
The iqama was first proposed in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was approved by the Cabinet last week. It will for the first time allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor.
The scheme will enable expatriates to permanently reside, own property and invest in the Kingdom. An authorized draft of the new Privileged Iqama system offers a number of benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds that will not require a Saudi sponsor.
A special committee has been given 90 days to determine regulations governing the mechanisms of the scheme, such as fees for applicants, which have not been yet determined by the authorities.
Fahad bin Juma, vice chairman of the Shoura Council Financial Committee said that eligibility for the Saudi Green Card will be determined by a number of bodies headed by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, as reported by Al-Watan newspaper.
He also added that in order to be eligible, applicants must possess scientific or professional skills that are not abundantly available in the Kingdom, or they should be company owners who can invest in the country.
The holder of the Privileged Iqama will be deemed resident for the purpose of applying other statutory provisions, especially tax provisions, regardless of how much time he spends outside the Kingdom in the course of the year.
The applicant must be over 21 years of age, must have a valid passport, must not have a criminal record, and must provide a health report dated within 6 months of the application presenting proof that the applicant is free of infectious diseases. In the case of applications from within the Kingdom, the applicant must obtain a legal resident permit before applying.
The Privilege Iqama rights include possession of private means of transport and any other movable properties that an expat is allowed to acquire as per the Saudi law, employment in private sector establishments and transfer between them (this includes the beneficiary’s family members) except for occupations and jobs from which non-Saudi nationals are banned. The rights also include freedom to leave the Kingdom and return to it independently, use of the queues designated for Saudi nationals when entering and exiting the Kingdom through its ports, and doing business under the foreign investment system.
Under the system, two categories are provided to applicants, an extended iqama and temporary iqama subject to renewal.
Upon approval of the application, according to Article 5, the applicant must pay the fees specified by the designated authorities; the holder will be deemed resident for the purpose of applying other statutory requirements, especially the tax provisions, regardless of how much time he spends outside the Kingdom in the course of the year.
The Privileged Iqama does not entitle the holder to Saudi citizenship.
The holder of the Privileged Iqama, will enjoy several rights, including residence in Saudi Arabia with his family, the right to issue visitor’s visas for relatives as defined by the MOI regulations, the recruitment of domestic workers, the possession of property for residential, commercial and industrial purposes with the exclusion of Makkah, Madinah and border areas as per the regulations. The holder will also be able to utilize property in Makkah and Madinah for a period not exceeding 99 years.
The Ministries of Justice and Commerce and Investment shall establish the necessary mechanisms to ensure the beneficiary’s access to an instrument of utilization issued by the Notary Public. This right will be enforceable by transfer to others according to the rules set by the committee.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, said that the Privilege Iqama law approved by the Saudi Cabinet confirms that the Kingdom is continuing its development and reform plans in accordance with Vision 2030 to develop its economy and enhance the attractiveness of its investment environment.
The Privilege Iqama aims to make residents and expatriates an active part of the Saudi economy, promote consumption growth by increasing quality purchasing power and economic activity in various sectors, establish more small and medium enterprises, and generate jobs for Saudi citizens.
The Privileged Iqama can be canceled if the holder did not comply with the obligations stipulated in Article 7 of the law, waivered his residency, and/or passed away or was no longer eligible.
Several matters could lead to the cancelation of the Iqama, such as providing false information in the application, a conviction for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding 60 days and/or a fine exceeding SR100,000, or a judicial decision to deport the holder from the Kingdom.
The cancelation or termination of the Privilege Iqama does not entail the transfer of the rights and benefits, obtained in accordance with Article 2 of the law, to the holder’s family. However, if a family member met the conditions of this law and its regulations, he may apply for the Privileged Iqama.
In the event of the cancelation or termination of the holder’s Iqama or any of his family members, the Privilege Iqama Center will, in coordination with the designated authorities, consider and remedy any consequences that may result therefrom in accordance with the law and its regulations.
Updated 07 May 2021
May 07, 2021 04:33
RIYADH: Every worker in the Kingdom will be required to get inoculated against COVID-19 to be able to attend their workplaces, state TV Al Ehbariya said on Friday, quoting the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Development.
In a series of tweets, Al Ekhbariya said the ministry was also calling on all sectors to ensure that their employees vaccinated.
The mechanism of the forthcoming policy and its date of application will be announced soon, the TV station said.
Strong relationship gains its strength from common religious and cultural values
Updated 07 May 2021
DR. ARIF ALVI
May 07, 2021 03:31
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed cordial relations.
This strong relationship has been nurtured by successive generations of leadership on both sides and gains its strength from common religious and cultural values and a shared desire for international peace and global development.
Saudi Arabia is held in great reverence by the people of Pakistan and there exists a deep affiliation with the Kingdom, as it is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
There also exists a complete synergy for shared development between the two countries. Pakistani engineers, construction experts and labor have played a leading role in building the infrastructure of modern Saudi Arabia.
Similarly, Pakistani doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, academics and financial experts have played a premier role in developing the institutional infrastructure of Saudi Arabia.
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan in early 2019 ushered in a new area of economic cooperation.
We wish to have greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia and also look for enhanced trade between the two countries. I am sure the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia will open further avenues of mutual cooperation and broaden understanding on issues of mutual interest.
Pakistan looks forward to the further strengthening of strategic cooperation, trade and investment.
It also looks for cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a major challenge for the world including Muslim countries.
Long live the Pakistan-Saudi friendship!
• Dr. Arif Alvi is the president of Pakistan.
Updated 47 min 25 sec ago
May 07, 2021 03:31
JEDDAH: A communique set to be issued after the meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to see “good news” for the whole Muslim world.
Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said the prime minister will arrive in Jeddah on Friday and will perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“He will then meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as top Saudi officials and scholars, including the imams of the Two Holy Mosques as well as chiefs of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim World League (MWL),” Ashrafi said.
The chairman was speaking at a press conference at the General Consulate of Pakistan on Wednesday, ahead of the official visit of Imran Khan on an invitation from the Saudi crown prince.
Ashrafi is also the special representative of the prime minister to the Middle East.
“After the meeting, a strong final communique will be issued, and it will see glad tidings, not only to the peoples of the two countries, but also to the whole Muslim world,” he said.
Ashrafi expressed his gratitude to the crown prince for the invitation.
Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the blessed last 10 days of Ramadan.
“In such a timing, the giants sit together. With Pakistan possessing a nuclear force, it is the biggest army in the Muslim world, while Saudi Arabia has the most important things in the whole life in this world — Makkah and Madinah, where the Two Holy Mosques are located. It is the homeland of the House of God and the Prophet’s Mosque,” Ashrafi added.
He pointed out that the two sides will sign a number of treaties and agreements, most important of which will focus on the Saudi Green and Green Middle East initiatives, and the Clean, Green Pakistan Movement, which Khan launched in October 2018.
Senior Pakistani ministers are accompanying the prime minister and some of them have already arrived, the special envoy said.
“This visit is not the first and will not be the last. It is a continuation of past visits between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who are like a body and its soul.”
He said that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is neither diplomatic nor political. “We have a relationship of respect, love, brotherhood and shared Islamic faith,” said Ashrafi, adding: “As the chief of the Pakistan Army said a few months ago, the security of Saudi Arabia, its stability and its leaders are all red lines.”
The Pakistanis love Al-Saud. They deeply respect those who serve the Two Holy Mosques. We are, in fact, proud to have strong ties with them.”
Ashrafi, who was speaking in Arabic, pointed out that Pakistan, as a nuclear power, is cooperating with Saudi Arabia on all levels, including trade, economy, culture, tourism and religion.
“A media reporter has asked me whether there was any dispute or disagreement between Saud Arabia and Pakistan. My answer was that a body never disagrees with its soul. I would like to say again to all friends and enemies … Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a soul-body relationship,” Ashrafi said.
Speaking about Islam as a moderate religion, Ashrafi — a recipient of the OIC’s Universal Award for his struggle to eradicate terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from Pakistan and across the Muslim world — said his country and Saudi Arabia have a clear plan against terrorism, extremism and seditions (fitnah).
“Islam is the religion of respect and brotherhood. The crown prince’s vision is quite clear in this regard. It is not accepted from anyone to use the name of Islam for terror and immoderate purposes. It is a chance here to reiterate that Islam has no connection at all with terrorism or extremism,” he said.
During his visit, the prime minister will discuss Islamophobia and the respect of prophets with the secretary-general of the OIC and his MWL counterpart, Asharfi said.
He thanked King Salman for the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Mosque, which will be built at the heart of Islamabad.
“We have the King Faisal Mosque, which reflects the two countries’ strong religious ties,” he said.
The King Salman Mosque “will be another monument of the Saudi-Pakistan friendship and lead to better progress in the bilateral relations of the two countries,” he added.
Khan’s political communications aide, Dr Shahbaz Gill, said that the relationship between the two countries does not need any introduction or reaffirmation.
Gill said the visit of Khan “is very important in the regional situation. But most importantly in regard with the issue of Islamophobia and blasphemy against our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
He added that the visit “is also important in terms of the prime minister’s vision and understanding on the environment and the passion of the Saudi crown prince for the same thing.”
Updated 07 May 2021
May 07, 2021 03:30
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoy strong fraternal relations, rooted in shared Islamic heritage and traditions.
Pakistanis have a special regard for the Kingdom due to its position as the custodian of Islam’s holiest places, whilst political, economic and military ties are also robust.
Islamabad supports Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which is a strategic framework to harness the strengths and potential of the Kingdom for a great future.
The Saudi Green Initiative is an important initiative aligned with our mutual pledge to counter climate change.
Pakistan would be happy to share experience, knowledge, and lessons from our own Clean Green Pakistan initiative, which is a notable success story.
Both countries share a common desire to uphold and promote Islamic solidarity and I am confident that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together can play a significant role in countering the rising menace of Islamophobia.
Pakistan looks forward to further strengthening and diversifying our ties in mutually beneficial areas, especially in the media, as it is an important tool to promote our shared cultural and societal values.
• Fawad Chaudhry is federal minister of information and broadcasting.
Khan said that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom
May 07, 2021 03:18
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s climate minister on Thursday said his country and Saudi Arabia will sign a landmark climate deal on Friday during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Kingdom.
Khan will embark on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In meetings with the Saudi leadership, Khan will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economics, trade, investment, environment, energy, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce, and the welfare of the diaspora in the Kingdom.
In a letter to the crown prince in March, Khan said while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia already maintain close cooperation on climate-change issues at multilateral forums, “a meaningful and structured bilateral engagement can help advance our shared vision and create mutually beneficial opportunities for partnership.”
Khan added that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are all set to sign a landmark green deal which will lay the grounds for a sustained collaboration,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam told Arab News from Riyadh.
“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will actually be a marriage of two overlapping green visions put forward separately by the two leaders which represent the aspirations of a young populace across the two friendly countries.”
The crown prince last month called the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Sudan to discuss a massive regional tree-planting project.
The Saudi Green Initiative is part of the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce its reliance on oil revenues and improve quality of life.
The ambitious initiative, unveiled at the end of March, will see Saudi Arabia planting 10 billion trees in the coming decades and working with other Arab states to plant another 40 billion, reduce carbon emissions, and combat pollution and land degradation.
According to a copy of the Pakistani-Saudi green agreement seen by Arab News, its aim is to help the two nations “meet their aspirations to consolidate the basis of the joint work in the various fields of environmental protection and preservation and control of its pollution, so as to meet the needs of present and future generations, in order to achieve sustainable development in both countries.”
The two nations will exchange opinions, information, experiences, documents, studies and publications in the fields that fall within the framework of the MoU.
Aslam said the deal will include setting future targets for the use of clean, renewable energy, and the expansion of national parks and protected areas, with the employment of young people in a National Parks Service.
The agreement said the countries will, according to available resources, bear the financial costs of implementing their respective obligations mentioned in the MoU unless otherwise agreed.
“The duration of this MoU is five years, automatically renewable for similar periods unless one party notifies the other, in writing and through diplomatic channels, of its intention not to renew or terminate the MoU,” the draft said. “Such notice should be given at least six months before the date the MoU ends.”
During Khan’s Saudi visit, “the two sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Pakistan’s Foreign office said in a statement. “A number of bilateral agreements / MoUs are expected to be signed during the visit.”
Khan will also meet the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the secretary-general of the World Muslim League, and the imams of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Khan “will also interact with the Pakistani diaspora in Jeddah,” the Foreign Office said.
Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is already in Riyadh. On Wednesday, he discussed defense cooperation with Lt. Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, the Saudi military chief of staff.
During the meeting with Al-Ruwaili, Bajwa emphasized the need to further enhance military cooperation between the two nations in the interests of regional peace and security.