Cairo: Saudi Arabia has embarked on applying a government decision, allowing the issuance and renewal of iqama (residency permits) for millions of migrant workers in the country on a quarterly basis, a move aimed to ease procedures for the private sector.
The Saudi Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Human Resources have begun issuing iqamas linked to work permits, their renewal for a minimum of three months and paying fees accordingly, the Saudi news agency SPA reported. An exception is made for domestic workers.
The new system allows the employer to renew iqamas, work permits and pay their fees for varying periods, i.e. each three months, six months or 12 months as was previously the case according to the need.
The General Directorate of Passports said the new service is accessible via online platforms Absher Business and Muqeem.
The mechanism aims at facilitating procedures for private sector establishments to enable them to achieve optimal cash management and renew their workers’ permits according to actual needs.
Moreover, the move is perceived to help boost private sector growth, bolster labour market in the kingdom and its attractiveness as well as lend contractual relation more flexibility, thus keeping abreast of global job markets. Foreigners make up around 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 34.8 million.