Beginning on October 14, 2015, a new Resident Identity Card, Muqeem, will be replacing the current card, known as Iqama. Muqeems will offer residency and work authorization and are anticipated to be valid for five years (renewed electronically each year) instead of the previous one-year validity. Other than the longer validity period, there are no other concrete differences between the two cards. The applicant’s personal information will continue to be recorded on the card including their name, nationality, religion, occupation, work permit number, employer’s name and photograph.

In addition, original cards are now being sent directly to the employer’s PO Box thus not requiring company representatives to collect Iqamas in person. The new Resident Identity Cards will still be delivered to residents in the same manner.

During this month, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor (MoL) has also announced that expatriate workers will be restricted from certain job categories that are only reserved for Saudi Arabian citizens. Foreign nationals recruited to hold positions exclusively for Saudi Arabian citizens will not be issued work permits. Foreign nationals currently working in those reserved positions will not be given work permit renewals.

The job categories reserved for Saudi Arabian nationals include Labor affairs Manager, Staff relations specialist, Staff relations Manager, Director of Personnel relations, Head of Personnel department, HR Manager, Executive HR Manager, Staff relations clerk, Recruitment clerk, Staff affairs clerk, Receptionist (general), Health receptionist, Hotel receptionist, Security, Broker, Treasury secretary, Claims clerk, Customs broker, Key specialist and Female Sales Specialist.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.