Saudi Arabia unveils details about fast-track visas

The Ministry of Labor unveiled details of a recently introduced fast-track online visa system for those private firms with government contracts

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The Ministry of Labor unveiled details of the recently introduced fast-track online visa system for those private firms that have won government project contracts.

Abdullah Al-Olyan, director general of the ministry’s branch in Makkah, said that those firms, which have fulfilled the ministry’s Saudization regulations, can take advantage of the new system.

According to the system, the private firms can complete instantly the entire process of visa issuance and hiring of workers online. This system also allows government agencies to see their contract information with the private sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Addressing a workshop to outline the salient features of the fast-track system for human resources officials at the private sector firms here on Sunday, Al-Olyan said this system is an incentive to those firms which are effectively implementing Saudization.

“The firms which are in the platinum and green categories of the Nitaqat Saudization program will be the beneficiaries of this system,” he said, adding that the visas will be valid for two years after their issuance or six months before the end of the period of the contract.

The ministry official said the firm’s owner can decide the nationality of workers to be hired and can get visas issued in accordance with the category of his firm. It is also possible to transfer workers hired for an old contract to the new one directly.

The entire process of applying for visa, examining the application, issuance of visa and other procedures will be online and there will be no bureaucratic bottlenecks. In case of cancellation of any visa, there is no need to approach the ministry but the visa will be restored so as to use any time.

A few months ago, the ministry directed all recruitment offices to publish domestic workers’ information on the Musaned website to keep up with its transparency policy.

These companies must display all the information available regarding the workers, including their nationalities and profession. The ministry stated that penalties will be applied to companies which delay the disclosure of their recruitment costs.

The article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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