Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council Approves Green Card-Style Residence Program

Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council has approved a plan for introducing a “Green Card-style residence system for foreigners aimed at attracting investors,” according to reports which cited Saudi media.

The “privileged iqama” system will be offered for specific fees and have both permanent and temporary versions. The new system is designed to ensure eligible residents “a set of advantages including rights to recruit workers, own property and means of transportation as well as leaving and return to the kingdom without the need for permission from a sponsor as is the case now,” Gulf News reports.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Council on Economic and Development Affairs first announced the concept in 2016 as part of other reforms aimed at stimulating investment and powering the Kingdom’s economy away from energy revenues and toward diversification.

Approved proposals and laws by the Shura are referred to the King, who also heads the cabinet, for a decision.