Saudi Arabia has launched five new visas to attract skilled professionals and investors as the Arab world’s biggest economy seeks to strengthen its position as a global centre for business.
The “premium residency products” are in line with the kingdom’s goals to drive economic transformation, create employment opportunities and increase knowledge transfer, Majid bin Alkassabi, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s board of the Premium Residency Centre, said on Wednesday.
The new visa categories of special talent, gifted, investor, entrepreneur, and real estate owner residency will offer holders “unparalleled opportunities for settling in Saudi Arabia”, he said.
The special visas “offer a wide range of benefits to holders, including the ability to conduct business, own real estate, obtain work permits for holders and family members, and many more advantages”.
He did not, however, give details of the length of new special visas nor the cost investors and entrepreneurs will have to pay to obtain them.
Saudi Arabia, Opec’s biggest oil producer, aims to cut its reliance on the sale of hydrocarbons and diversify its economy away from oil.
Expansion of its industrial base, creating jobs, boosting knowledge exchange and increasing foreign direct investment are among the main pillars of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda.
Saudi Arabia opened up several sectors for public-private partnerships and has introduced several schemes, including dedicated industry free zones and tax rebates, to attract new talent and investors to the kingdom.
It also introduced regulation for foreign companies to set up regional headquarters in the kingdom to support the country’s non-oil economy. The kingdom hopes to have 480 global companies establish headquarters in the kingdom by 2030 as part of efforts to improve economic output.
In October 2021, 44 companies received government licences to set up headquarters in the country. The companies that had already relocated their regional headquarters by then included PepsiCo, DiDi, Unilever, Siemens, KPMG, Novartis, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Philips, Flour, Schlumberger, SAP, PwC, Oyo, Boston Scientific and Tim Hortons.
The regional headquarters programme, an initiative by the Ministry of Investment and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, aims to attract multinational companies by offering benefits and premium support services including a 30-year tax break.
Mr Alkassabi said the five new visa products have been developed in collaboration with the Premium Residency Centre’s strategic partners across several government entities.