Country Profile: Saudi Arabia
Overview for expatriate workers
Population: 30.3 million
Official Language: Arabic
Curency: Saudi Arabian Riyal - SAR
The largest and most populous of the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia has grown from a nomadic kingdom of just 3 million inhabitants in the 1970s to a country of 30.3 million people today. The dramatic population growth and vast oil production has fueled an infrastructure boom with a demand for highly skilled professional workers across many sectors.
Saudisation and Vision 2030 are the key policy drivers for the increasingly diversified economy with strong demand for expatriate workers in highly specialised fields.
Jobs for expatriate medical staff are located in the major hospitals and polyclinics of the cities across the Kingdom.
The birthplace and spiritual home of Islam, Saudi Arabia is rich in attractions and stirring symbolism.
For Muslims, the cities of Mecca and Medina, rich in Prophetic significance, have no equal, while the carved temples of Madain Saleh, known as the second Petra, and the sophisticated rock art at Jubbah are the Kingdom's greatest pre-Islamic treasures.
Other wonders abound, from echoes of TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) along the Hejaz Railway to the sculpted red dunes of romantic deserts. Fascinating Riyadh is a showpiece for modern Saudi Arabia, while Jeddah's World Heritage coral architecture whisks you back to the history of this bustling pilgrim port.
The pristine, azure waters of the Red Sea ache to be explored and in the south, the jewel in the Kingdom's crown, Asir, reveals breathtaking mountain scenery where mysterious and spectacular villages wait to be discovered.
Saudi Arabia uses the Islamic Lunar Hijri calendar which has 12 lunar months of 354 or 355 days.
Working in Saudi Arabia
The working week is Sunday - Thursday, Friday is the holy day of prayers and Saturdays is a day of rest in the public sector, but often a working day for private sector employees.
You need an Iqama (residency permit) to work. Your sponsor usually processes the Iqama within 3 months of you arriving in Saudi Arabia.
It’s illegal to work without your sponsor being noted on your Iqama, and your sponsor will normally hold your passport, while you retain your Iqama.
You can’t change your job or transfer your sponsorship without the agreement of your current sponsor, so it’s important you seek legal advice before accepting a new contract.
Employment Terms in Saudi Arabia usually include:
- Tax free salary
- Commission or incentives with some contracts (private sector)
- Accommodation in a compound or an accommodation allowance
- Healthcare Insurance (this is essential)
- Flights from point of hire
- 30-40 days annual leave
- Professional malpractice cover
- End of service award dependent on contract length
- Education allowance for children
- Study leave
Employment contracts are for 1-4 years.
Healthcare Sector Saudi Arabia
All medical facilities in Saudi Arabia are subject to the authority and regulation of the Ministry of Health which runs the national public service hospitals accounting for 80% of bed capacity and medical care.
The providers are:
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Defence and Aviation
- National Guard
- Security Forces Hospitals
- King Faisal Specialist Hospitals and Research Centres
There are many hospitals and clinics of various size but the major ones are:
- Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group
- Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospitals
- Saudi German Hospitals
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