Saudi green card will only be given to foreign investors and highly qualified experts among expats, according to a top Shoura Council official.
He said a number of ministries are still studying the procedures of granting the permanent residence card. The regulations will be announced soon.
Speaking to Arab News, Fahd bin Jumaa, vice president of Economic Committee at the consultative body, said the Kingdom expects to reap economic benefits generated by experts in the expat community.
Many expats are eyeing the card that will enable them to stay in the Kingdom.
“The new system will be similar to the US residence model. The Saudi government is interested in taking advantage of foreign investors and extraordinary expats,” bin Jumaa said.
Awad Al-Assiri, a Shoura Council member, previously told Arab News that the plan would be discussed in the body’s full sessions, in the same way other legislation is studied before being passed to the Cabinet for approval.
“The green card will attract foreign investment to the Kingdom. Many expatriates will take advantage of the new program. At the same time, the Kingdom will benefit from the fees paid by expats to have a green card,” he said.
The system is expected to generate around $10 billion annually through reduced remittances and other sources, besides bringing in billions of dollars in foreign investment, say economic experts.
The plan will abolish the existing sponsorship system, with expatriates required to pay Zakat and possibly value-added tax.
The card will also allow them to own property and undertake business activities. The Kingdom is home to over 10 million foreign workers.