Saudi Arabia has recently updated a crucial policy, impacting many expatriates. The Kingdom has now lifted the three-year ban on expatriates who couldn’t return before their visas expired. With this change, expatriates who recently left Saudi Arabia on an exit-reentry visa and were unable to return within the designated period can now re-enter the country with a new visa, without having to wait for three years
Background of the Ban
The ban was initially enforced by Jawazat following demands of businessmen, to prevent the reentry of workers who did not return within their visa’s valid period. This decision, backed by the Council of Ministers, aims to address financial losses incurred by businesses due to fees for residency permit (Iqama) renewals, work permits, and return tickets, as well as the negative impact on contract stability and the employment market caused by workers not returning on time.
The Ban is Lifted
As of January 16, 2023, this three-year re-entry ban has been lifted. This decision is part of a broader series of improvements aimed at enhancing the Kingdom’s investment and labor environment. By removing this restriction, Saudi Arabia is taking a step towards creating a more inclusive and dynamic economy, acknowledging the crucial role played by the expatriate workforce.
What it Means for Expatriates
This policy revision is a welcome change for millions of expatriates and their families. It offers them greater flexibility and security, reducing the anxiety associated with visa expiry issues. Furthermore, it allows those who had previously been barred from re-entering to consider returning to the Kingdom, thus reopening opportunities for both personal and professional growth.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift the three-year entry ban is a progressive step that aligns with the Kingdom’s broader goals of economic expansion and diversification. It not only benefits the expatriate community but also enhances the Saudi labor market’s flexibility and dynamism. This policy shift is a testament to the Kingdom’s evolving approach towards global labor mobility and its commitment to creating a welcoming environment for workers from around the world.