Saudi Arabia will bear government fees of displaced expatriates from neighboring countries  

4-year exemption of fees for iqama, work permit and job transfer

April 03, 2024
Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman chairs the weekly session of the Council of Ministers in Jeddah on Tuesday.
Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman chairs the weekly session of the Council of Ministers in Jeddah on Tuesday.

Saudi Gazette Report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia will bear the government fees of displaced citizens from neighboring countries, who are permitted to stay and rectify their status in the Kingdom, for a period of four years. This landmark decision was taken by the weekly session of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, in Jeddah on Tuesday.

The government fees exemption covers residency permit (iqama) fee, work permit fee, transfer of service fee, profession change fee, and fee for employees of companies and establishments in the private sector, and this is for a period of four years from the date of rectifying their status after arrival in the Kingdom.

Additionally, the state will bear all previously incurred fees mentioned earlier and previous fines related to violations of the Residency Law for both these individuals and their companions.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency following the session, Minister of Media Salman Al-Dosary said that the Cabinet decided to make amendments in the Traffic Law. The Council also entrusted the Ministry of Education to apply the provisions contained in handling Municipal Real Estate Regulation with regard to the investment of real estate that has deeds in favor of the ministry.

At the outset of the session, the Crown Prince expressed gratitude to God Almighty for enabling Saudi Arabia to successfully host millions of Umrah pilgrims and worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan. The Crown Prince acknowledged their ability to perform their rituals in ease and comfort, attributing this success to God’s grace and to the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. He also lauded the combined efforts of the government agencies in serving the guests of God with the highest levels of care and quality.

The Crown Prince briefed the Cabinet on the content of a message that he received from the Ethiopian prime minister that focused on strengthening bilateral relations and exploring avenues for cooperation in various fields.

Al-Dosary said that the Cabinet’s discussions also focused on fostering cooperation and coordination between the Kingdom and various countries in the framework of regional and international organizations to drive collective action towards achieving stability and prosperity, while supporting the objectives of sustainable development.

The Cabinet hailed the launch of the Vision for Regional Security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which aims to maintain stability in the region, as well as to promote the prosperity of its member states and their citizens, apart from contributing to international peace and security.

The Council appreciated Saudi Arabia’s selection to chair the 69th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2025 as a testament to the Kingdom’s commitment to international cooperation on issues related to women’s rights and empowerment, building upon its achievements in this area.

On the domestic front, the Cabinet reviewed the outcomes of the 31st annual meeting of the governors of the regions. The session highlighted the state’s dedication to fostering comprehensive development across all parts of the Kingdom. This commitment encompasses continued improvement of services provided to citizens and expatriates, ultimately aimed to enhance their quality of life.

The Cabinet acknowledged the state’s successful efforts in creating job opportunities, and conducting training programs and qualification initiatives for young Saudis. These measures have contributed to a record-low national unemployment rate, with figures reaching 7.7 percent for Saudi citizens in Q4 of 2023.

The Council reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to the preservation and restoration of historical sites to achieve Vision 2030 goals and showcase the country’s rich Arab and Islamic heritage. The Cabinet commended the completion of a project to support and protect 56 buildings that are on the brink of collapse within the Historic Jeddah Neighborhood.

The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) concerning political consultations between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Relations. It also endorsed two MoUs between the Saudi Ministry of Justice, the North Macedonian Ministry of Justice, and the Comorian Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Public Administration, which is dealing with human rights and transparency.

The Cabinet authorized the minister of investment or his deputy to discuss and sign with the San Marino side a draft MoU between the Saudi government and the San Marino government for cooperation in encouraging direct investment.

It authorized the minister of economy and planning or his deputy to discuss and sign with the Serbian side a draft economic cooperation agreement between the Saudi government and the Serbian government.

The Cabinet approved a MoU between the Saudi government and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for cooperation in public policy and another MoU in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection between the Saudi Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission and the Iraqi Radioactive Sources Regulatory Authority.

It endorsed two agreements between Saudi Arabia and the governments of Barbados and Mali in the field of air transport services, in addition to a MoU between the Saudi General Authority for Statistics and the Information and eGovernment Authority of Bahrain related to cooperation in statistics.

The Cabinet authorized the president of the Saudi State Security or his deputy to hold talks with the Pakistani side and sign a draft MoU between the presidency and the Military Intelligence of Pakistan in the field of combating terrorism and its financing. It also authorized the minister of environment, water, and agriculture and chairman of the board of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) or his deputy to hold talks with the Korean side and sign a draft MoU between the SWCC and the Korea Maritime and Ocean University in the field of seawater desalination

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