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10 Tips for Living in Saudi Arabia

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: 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.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Saudi Arabia GuideSaudi Arabia Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia Forum 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.

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An index of all of our site's Saudi Arabia information.

Contribute to Saudi Arabia Network Contribute
Help others in Saudi Arabia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Saudi Arabia.

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Expats in Saudi Arabia offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Saudi Arabia.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Saudi Arabia.

Guide to Real Estate in Saudi ArabiaGuide to Real Estate in Saudi Arabia

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Saudi Arabia.

Pros Cons of Living in Saudi ArabiaPros & 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.

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Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Saudi Arabia.

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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.

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Comments

guest
Apr 22, 2013 06:36

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 http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-29/middle-east-news/38124538_1_saudi-arabia-new-labour-policy-expatriates http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/34-expats-want-leave http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/07/saudi-expatriates-crackdown-idUSL5N0CU0N920130407 http://www.arabianbusiness.com/at-least-2m-expats-in-saudi-lose-jobs-report-495107.html http://www.alsahwa-yemen.net/arabic/subjects/5/2013/3/31/28631.htm http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/ http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130421162251 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.”

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Saudi Arabia GuideSaudi Arabia Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia Forum 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.

Saudi Arabia Index Saudi Arabia Index
An index of all of our site's Saudi Arabia information.

Contribute to Saudi Arabia Network Contribute
Help others in Saudi Arabia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Saudi Arabia.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Saudi ArabiaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Saudi Arabia

Expats in Saudi Arabia offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Saudi Arabia.

Real Estate in Saudi ArabiaReal Estate in Saudi Arabia

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Saudi Arabia.

Guide to Real Estate in Saudi ArabiaGuide to Real Estate in Saudi Arabia

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Saudi Arabia.

Pros Cons of Living in Saudi ArabiaPros & 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.

Cost of Living in Saudi ArabiaCost of Living in Saudi Arabia

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Saudi Arabia.

Moving-to-Saudi-ArabiaMoving 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.

Guides to Cities in Saudi Arabia
Al Khobar Dhahran Jeddah Riyadh
Country Resources
Health Insurance Moving & Shipping More Resources

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