10 Tips for Living in Saudi Arabia
By Betsy Burlingame
Saudi Arabia is an expat post that some love and some find incredibly challenging. Expats offer tips about living in Saudi Arabia - from the conservative dress to rules for Western women and more.
Saudi Arabia Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Saudi Arabia on our Saudi Arabia forum - meet people, get advice and help others.
Help others in Saudi Arabia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Saudi Arabia.
Pros & Cons of Living in Saudi Arabia
Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Saudi Arabia.
Moving to Saudi Arabia
Expats who want to move to the Saudi Arabia should fully explore what it means to move and live there. Read a lot of comments from people who live in Saudi Arabia, and have for a number of years.
Hi Betsy-I just wanted to let you know of the "hush-hush" current situation in Saudi Arabia. I originally wrote this for a blog, but decided to post, to protect my privacy and safety. Feel free to cut and paste and use or not use any of the information here.
This past month (April, 2013) Labor forces in Saudi Arabia have cracked down on illegal workers. Eyewitnesses have reported to newspapers various accounts of situations faced.
Sadly, the foreigners (expats) are the ones suffering. Many of them entered Saudi Arabia and were then hired to work. Their Saudi employers may have helped them attain a legal visa to work, and others allowed them to work illegally. However, when wanting to return home, workers (expats) can only leave the country if they are on a 30-day visit visa, business visa or have a single-entry or multiple-exit/re-entry visa. These visa’s cannot be applied for by the expat, only the employer. Thus, if the employer chooses not to apply for the Visa, then the worker is left here illegally and continues to work or search for work elsewhere. If he finds work from another employer, he cannot legally be hired, unless the previous employer grants permission.
Saudi Arabia pays expat workers more money than they would receive in their home country. This is the main reason why expats come here. Yet, expats are being punished by being held here against their will.
Hundreds of Phillipino workers are camping next to their Counsolate in Jeddah, in tents and under tarps. The heat has caused children to become ill, as these Phillipino nationals wait to be released to return back to their country. In fact, before last months incident, they asked to be repatriated back to the Phillipines. Many of them do have their passports due to their employers keeping them. Others do not have a valid iqama to legally work in Saudi Arabia. They want to go home and they are simply waiting to be allowed-all at the mercy of forces in Saudi Arabia.
Again, it is disheartening to hear the newspaper dab foreign workers as being “in violation of their status.” They have no choice and now that they are being forced to fix their status, they are being denied. So, what is the solution? For some, the only solution is to return to their home country.
Additional Articles (to affirm that this is really happening) http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130421162259
Interviews with Residents in Jeddah:
1. Salman, a Pakistani national was deported 2 weeks ago. His children waited for their dad to pick them up from school. When they did not return home on time, Sarah his wife began calling friends for assistance. The next day, Salman called his wife from Pakistan explaining that he had been deported for not working for his original sponsor. He is still in the process of arranging to get his wife and two children back home to Pakistan.
2. Akhbar, who works in the car industry put in his resignation letter to his company-3 months ago! They have refused him to leave until he finds a replacement for his company.
3. Ana, a Phillipino national comes to the Phillipino Counsolate daily. She continues to ask them to send her home. Her Visa/Iqama to work as a house maid expired and her sponsor refused to renew it. She has her passport, but no way of leaving, due to not being able to afford the financial fines accrued as being an “over-stayer.”