Expats in Saudi Arabia can now receive three-month residency permits with the option to renew for another three months, according to local media. They can also save a digital copy of the iqama (permission) on their smartphones.
Minister of Interior Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud Bin Naif launched the service as part of a new package of services, and it is now available on the Absher Afraid (Individual) platform.
If an ex-pat does not desire one-year permission, the new service allows them to choose between a short-term permit and an annual renewal. According to sources, the purpose of this service is to help ex-pats and their employers save money that would otherwise be paid for a whole year. It will also improve the contractual relationship’s flexibility.
If an employer hires an ex-pat whose iqama is due to expire and the latter wishes to resign three months later, the new method allows them to renew their iqama for three months rather than a full year.
Furthermore, if an expat’s iqama has expired and they only need to stay in the Kingdom for a few months longer, they can renew it for three, six, or nine months instead of a full year.
This also means that the short-term iqama cost can be paid in quarterly or half-yearly installments. Banks will accept payment of the work permit cost for a minimum of three months or multiples of six, nine, or a full year, according to recent revisions to the government payment system.
Expats who renew their iqama on a quarterly basis can also pay their dependent fee on a quarterly basis. It was clarified that iqama renewal on a quarterly basis is voluntary. As a result, if people feel uneasy with it, they can stick with the current system.
The iqama tax can be paid quarterly or half-yearly, according to the recently modified government payments system. This will make it easier to complete the procedures for issuing and renewing iqamas for the required duration using the online platforms of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development’s Absher Business, Muqeem, and Qiwa.
Banks will now accept payment of the work permit cost by the employer for a minimum of three months or multiples of three months up to a year. The work permit is required for the granting and renewal of iqama.
Employers must pay the expatriate fee, which is SR800 per month or SR9,600 per year, in order to renew the work visa. Expatriates with dependents will be charged SR400 per month per dependent.