The Qiwa electronic portal was used by the kingdom’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development to launch the instant labour visa.
The Saudi Gazette reports that instead of following the standard visa process which can take up to 8 months, the new launch will enable visas to be obtained instantly by private sector firms.
For firms to qualify for this ability, the firm is required to remain in the medium green category for a percentage of Saudis in the workforce for 13 consecutive weeks, alternatively to remain in the medium green category for 26 intermittent weeks during the past 52 weeks. Another requirement is that the firm provides proof of a valid work permit and full compliance with the wage protection program.
Following this, the company will also need to be enrolled in the kingdom’s nationalisation program where a registered increase in its Saudi workforce is required to qualify for instant visas.
The term that requires companies to stay in the green zone is an important factor as the Kingdom is attempting to reduce the amount of foreign labour so as to not overly rely on a foreign workforce. Nationalising the workforce is the main factor for Saudi Arabia’s vision for 2030.
The workforce is measured depending on what category a company falls under; workforce size and how many Saudis are employed by the firm. The categories are Platinum, green (which has three-subcategories), yellow and red.
Over the past few years, non-Saudis are seeing fewer job opportunities with the number of foreign workers declining by 6% in the first three months of 2018 and more than 234,000 expats leaving the kingdom in the same time frame. In just 18 months, more than 800,000 expats had left the country.