Relocation & Recruitment Advice
For more information about recruitment in Saudi Arabia, please contact Sultan Amin, consultant at AP Executive. Use our job search function to see our current jobs in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the third largest country in the Middle East by land area (2,149,690 kilometers squared) and the home of 25.7 million individuals, 5.5 millions whom are non-Arab citizens. A complete Monarchy, the King has ultimate power and can waive the verdict of any decision made by the courts at a wave of the hand. This Kingdom is said to be in the top seven most authoritarian countries in the world. The prime source of government revenue in the country is oil (accounting for 75% of total government revenue) and the country with the largest oil reserve in the world.
A great advantage of earning income in Saudi Arabia is that there is no income tax on individuals and hasn't been since 1975 (regardless of their status as nationals or non-Saudi nationals). The Zakat is a wealth tax levied on Saudi and GCC nationals, wholly Saudi or GCC-owner entities, and Saudi and GCC shareholders in limited liability companies. The rate is approximately 2.5 percent of an individual's net worth or of an entity's assets (less specified deductions). There is, however, corporate tax; this varies from 25%-45% depending on the income of the company. One also has to keep in mind that taxes are different when in the petroleum and hydrocarbon industry. There is no property taxation in the Kingdom unless there is sufficient evidence of the property being purchased for speculative purposes. Despite some views on the country by westerners, the Kingdom has actually recently allowed big investment banks to start to open operations in the country. A prime example of this is Deutsche Bank whom is in the process of setting up operations here and is the second largest bank in terms of assets-under-management in Europe. There are, naturally, sceptics who criticize and question how long procedures will take for this to happen. Nevertheless, this is a huge effort toward economic reform on Saudi Arabia's part as this will be a first since complete nationalization of banks in 1970.
Relocating to Saudi Arabia can be troublesome, and take a long time in some cases - especially if one isn't from a neighboring country nor Muslim. Foreigners wishing to relocate to the kingdom have to apply for a permit through theirs sponsors. In essence, it is only there sponsors who can actually apply for a permit on their behalf and permanent residence permit for a non-Muslim is very hard to come across indeed. Furthermore, not only does one require a work permit for entry, they require permission for exit as well. Without express agreement from the Saudi government and/or the sponsor (with a stamp of exit to clarify), it is very hard to leave the country even if one has a valid plane ticket. If wishing to create a business in Saudi Arabia, a Saudi national or group of Saudi nationals, must have majority ownership of the enterprise in order for it to be "legal".