by Expatguru - 01/29/2010
"This article describes some important information for those planning to bring their families to the kingdom"
Okay, so you have been offered a lucrative job in Saudi Arabia and have signed the contract. You have been promised that you would be able to bring your family after the mandatory probation period. You have submitted all required documents for stamping of your visa and are all set to go. Now, all you need is a visa and a ticket and once you land in the kingdom, after the probationary period you can start processing the papers for your family to join you, right? Well, not always.
Expats planning to relocate to Saudi Arabia on family status must be aware that there is something called a "visa profession". Do not get this confused with the profession which you have been hired for. Let me explain this in detail. Every organization in the kingdom will be allotted a certain number of visas at the beginning of each Hijri year. Prior to this, the organization must have submitted their requests to the Ministry of Labor in the kingdom. The Government carefully evaluates each request and releases a certain number of visas in each category. It doesn’t always happen that the organization would get the same quantity and category of visas applied for. So, they end up with taking whatever is given to them and bring people in whichever visa is available.
So, you might, in reality, be an engineer working in a reputed firm, but the visa you have arrived may not actually mention your profession as an engineer. The problem is that if the profession mentioned in your visa is that of a non-supervisory category, for instance, labor, mason, carpenter, etc., you would not be eligible to bring your family because of restrictions by the Government. As a policy, the Saudi Government wants to make sure that only those who can support their families would be issued a family visa. Changing one's visa profession after arriving in Saudi Arabia is not an easy task.
So, how do you ensure that your visa is actually the profession for which you have been hired? Well, to be safe, make this as one of the conditions before signing the contract that you need a supervisory category visa in case the appropriate visa is not available with your employer. When your visa comes stamped from the Saudi Embassy / Consulate, check the passport and get someone who can read Arabic translate the profession mentioned in the visa. This way, you would be absolutely sure of your “official” profession in Government records, no matter what your actual profession is. Awareness of this important information beforehand would help you plan better.