High Priority

What is the immigration news? Saudi Arabia has eliminated the requirement that employers advertise jobs on the Taqat portal, allowing them to apply for block visas directly with the Ministry of Labor.

  • Effective date: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Impact on business: The process of applying for and obtaining a block visa should be faster with the elimination of the labor market testing steps.
  • What to watch: Employers may apply directly with the Ministry of Labor at this website (available only in Saudi Arabia). The ministry may impose additional changes or restrictions on the process.

Additional information: Labor market testing has been mandatory since 2016, requiring employers to advertise jobs locally on the ministry’s Taqat portal before seeking work authorization for a foreign national. The change is intended to improve the process for employers.   

BAL Analysis: The elimination of the Taqat job-posting requirement and reorganization of the systems are a major change in the work authorization process. Employers should anticipate overall faster timelines. Employers may apply for block visas for multiple job titles under one application. Only one application at a time may be requested with the Ministry of Labor and requirements will depend on whether the company is seeking initial block visas for the first time or seeking to expand the number of existing foreign employees. Employers who receive a reply on an application from the ministry must wait 30 days to submit their next application. Processing is supposed to take 3-7 days, but employers should anticipate delays extending beyond 10 days.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network partner Tools and Solutions in Saudi Arabia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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