Employing Expatriates in KSA | An Overview

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently introduced various programs to increase employment in different sectors while minimizing the reliance on the oil industry only. According to a report in the year 2018, 30% of the workforce in Saudi Arabia consists of expatriates. It is with the help of HR outsourcing that many foreigners are given an opportunity to come and work in the kingdom.

However, coming to Saudi Arabia for work without having any sponsorship from the employer is not possible. There is a set of rules and certain steps that employers shall follow before hiring expats in KSA. First, of all, the employer must prove that no Saudi can fill the position and why they need an expat to fill it.

Once the reason gets approved, the employer (Saudi individual, Saudi local company, or foreign company legally registered in Saudi) can obtain the work visa for the employee. The Ministry of Labor and Social Development Issues (MLSD) is authoritative in issuing work visas.

Document Required for Visa Process

To get the work visa, here are stepwise requirements that the applicant shall fulfill:

  1. Valid Passport: The applicant’s passport should be valid for at least the next six months from the time of application with two blank pages in continuity.
  2. Colored Photographs of the Applicant: The applicant must provide two passport-sized colored pictures on a white background. (Dimensions 2” x 2”) The photograph should not be older than the last 3 months with no inclusions of eye or headgear.
  3. Cover Letter: The employer should present a cover letter on the company’s letterhead with the postal address mentioned on it.
  4. Work Contract in Arabic: The applicant should submit a photocopy of the work contract, typed in Arabic.
  5. Visa Application: The original visa application, written in block letters with black font must be submitted by the applicant.
  6. Invitation Letter: An invitation letter is a legal document issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry that ensures the employee works in the Kingdom. It is the employer’s job to obtain the letter on behalf of the applicant. In this letter, the employer should mention the number of entries of the prospective employee beforehand. Employers may request single or multiple entries. The letter will be required to get stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi.
  7. Certificate of Business Registration: The applicant must submit the Business Registration Certificate of the company sponsoring him. The certificate must be stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
  8. Enjaz Registration: Enjaz Registration is an online form of registration that is supposed to be filled out online while applying for a visa. The filled form shall be submitted with the visa application.
  9. Signed form of Saudi Laws and Regulation: Saudi Arabia is among the countries with complex visa application processes. One of the vital documents required for visa application is a signed form of Saudi laws and regulations in which the applicant undertakes the responsibility of abiding by the laws and rules of the kingdom.

Once all of these steps are followed and approved, the applicant receives a work visa on which they can come to Saudi Arabia and start working. However, after receiving the work visa, there is a time limit of 90 days to apply for the Iqama. Applying for iqama needs to be done by the sponsor and they are liable to pay for it too.

The employer or the sponsor of expats can always consult with reliable HR outsourcing companies for the employee’s payroll outsourcing and other payroll services in KSA for a smoother process and assistance in the visa application.

Also read: Benefits of Payroll Outsourcing in Saudi Arabia

What Is an Iqama and Why Does an Expat Need It?

Iqama is a legal document, commonly in the form of a card that is given to the expat to legally stay and work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sponsors are supposed to fill out an application for the iqama on behalf of the expat. The iqama defines the legal status of the expat in the kingdom and the tenure for which they can reside in the kingdom.

Need Assistance for Sponsoring an Expat in KSA?

Payroll Middle East has a proven track record of smooth and excellent HR outsourcing. We deal in commendable payroll outsourcing and other payroll services in KSA and the Middle East region. Payroll Middle East has enabled businesses to set their feet in many countries of the Middle East region.

If you are expanding your business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and wish to sponsor a foreign employee to work for your company here, we have the right set of deals to make it easier for you. Contact us today and learn more!