IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Saudi Arabia is reducing the validity period of block visas from two years to one year for companies in the private sector.
What does the change mean? Private-sector employers will only have one year to assign their block visas to foreign employees before they expire.
Background: The Saudi Ministry of Labor announced the change last week, citing a provision in the Labour Code that allows the minister to make changes to improve conditions in the labor market. The ministry grants block visas to companies seeking to sponsor foreign nationals to fill specific job titles. Companies must know the exact position to be filled when applying for a block visa. After obtaining a block visa, the company may then hire a foreign national for the job and apply for a work visa that matches the approved block visa.
BAL Analysis: The change is consistent with recent policies amplifying Saudization rules that encourage private employers to hire Saudi citizens and tightens rules on the hiring of foreign workers. Employers should work with their BAL professional to ensure that they can meet the accelerated schedule for hiring foreign nationals once block visas are approved.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Saudi Arabia.
For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.
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