RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia launched on Sunday their new special residency scheme similar to green card systems applicable in other countries, aimed at attracting wealthy and high-skilled expats.
The residency scheme offers two types of residencies, a permanent one for 800,000 Saudi riyals ($213,321.96) and a one year but renewable residency for 100,000 Saudi riyals ($26,665.24).
The scheme was approved by the Saudi cabinet last month, but on Sunday the online portal to apply was opened to the public.
The residencies would allow foreign expats free movement, ability to own properties and to do business in the kingdom.
Currently over 10 million expats work and live in Saudi Arabia under a system that requires them to be sponsored by a Saudi employer and be issued an exit and re-entry visa whenever they want to leave the country.
Reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh; Writing by Tuqa Khalid in Dubai; editing by Louise Heavens