ZT News Network

DUBAI, MAY 17: The Saudi government has approved for the first time a scheme that gives permanent residency to certain expatriates, allowing them to own real estate in the kingdom and reside with their families without a Saudi sponsor.

Non-resident Kashmiris (NRKs) are unlikely to benefit from the new scheme in view of the fact that the scheme focuses on expats with a potential of bringing in capital funds for long term investment in Saudi Arabia. The scheme also seeks to target high-skilled professionals mainly in new technology.

Jammu & Kashmir-born NRKs in Saudi Arabia mostly work in engineering, medical and management sectors, with no major capital investments in the country.

The decision, approved by Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet and announced on Wednesday, is aimed at attracting long-term investments as the government tries to diversify the economy and boost domestic spending.

The “Privileged Iqama” system will offer a permanent residence scheme and one that can be renewed annually to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds. Further details and rules about the program are not yet announced.

Officials say they hope the decision will attract more investors and entrepreneurs to Saudi Arabia to help drive private sector growth and expand employment opportunities for Saudis.

With AP inputs

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