Moving to Saudi Arabia can be a challenge. Here are a few things to consider
Saudi Arabia extends over much of the Arabian Peninsula. It occupies about 80% of its territory. It is a Middle Eastern country bordered by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait to the north, Yemen to the south, Oman to the southeast and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain to the east.
Your population 35 million and its capital, RiadThe population is just over 5 million. The official language is Arabic although the English predominates in trade relations.
Economy and society
At present, the country is governed by a absolute monarchy. The King exercises executive power and heads and appoints the Council of Ministers. There is no parliament, and political parties and trade unions are banned. The Koran is its only constitution. It is based on the rules that govern a Islamic society in its strictest sense, one of the most stringent interpretations of the law sharia of the world. The political principles are traditional Islamic ones based on the Islamic family, hierarchy, and the rights and duties of Muslims.
Saudi Arabia is the most powerful economy in the Middle East with one of the highest standards of living in the region, showing a GDP per capita of close to 20,000 and projected by the International Monetary Fund to grow by 4 % in 2022.
It is one of the leading countries in the oil exportswhich has made it one of the twenty largest economies in the world. But strong investments are also being made in non-oil sectors to branch out the industry, creating business opportunities for sectors such as transport and tourism infrastructures, renewable energies, water purification and channelling, the agri-food sector, defence, capital goods, construction materials, urban waste treatment, etc. In addition, artificial intelligence and digitalisation are the main focus of investment projects.
The strength of its banking system and the large-scale public works carried out by the government have made it a country with a strong banking system. very attractive for foreign companies and trade relations between Spain and Saudi Arabia are very good.
On the other hand, the religion divides the population into a Sunni 85% in which the Sunni movement predominates. Wahhabism, 14% Shia and Christian 1%. Saudi Arabia is known as the "land of the holy mosques" as it is home to two of Islam's holiest sites: Masjid al-Haram at Mecca y Masjid al-Nabawi at Medina and where non-Muslims are strictly forbidden access.
Any salaried employment relationship in Saudi Arabia is conditioned by the figure of the employer or sponsor. The employer is the only person responsible for the worker in the country for legal, labour, leave, etc. purposes.
A visa is required for entry into the country.. It must be obtained in advance from the embassy or consulate. This process can take several weeks, so it is advisable to apply early. In addition, for those who are going to reside in the country, it is necessary to obtain a exit permit, to be applied for by the sponsor at the Ministry of Labour.
It is one of the most restrictive countries for women and they are not allowed to leave the house without a man given the male guardianship system. Their participation in the labour market is low and concentrated in the education sector, in bank branches and in women-only shopping centres. Until 2018 it was the only country in the world where women did not have the right to drive.
- The 80% workers are foreigners. The kingdom has about 8.4 million workers. Among them 6 million foreigners, mostly employed in the oil sector.
- The 47% of the stock is under 24 years of age.
- Saudi Arabia has one of the tallest buildings in the world. The Burj Al-Mamiakah ('Tower of the Kingdom').
- It is three times the size of Germany. But 95% of its territory is desert and only 1,45% of the kingdom's land is arable.
If you are preparing your moving to Saudi Arabia and you want to know more about the country, don't miss our programme on Expatriates and apply as soon as possible for the budget for the move to Saudi Arabia.