No Change in Family Visa Rules: Official

No Change in Family Visa Rules: Official

Visa Category: Cleaner

Visa Category: Cleaner

DAMMAM: Government officials have denied recent reports that there have been changes in visa rules for the dependants of expatriate workers. Reports in the English and Arabic media had claimed that high-earning expatriates working in the Kingdom on low-category work visas would be allowed to bring their families into the country on permanent resident visas.

“Those reports are not true,” said a Dammam isteqdam official who requested anonymity.

“The family visa is very much linked to the profession on your iqama. We have issued and are issuing family visas to only those in white-collar jobs such as engineers, doctors and executives. The financial status of the applicant is only one of the conditions.”

According to him, nonprofessionals, such as those who are listed on their iqamas and work permits as laborers, masons, electricians and so forth, will have their applications for family visas rejected automatically. “The rules are clear-cut. Professionals — yes; nonprofessionals — no,” he said.

The general assumption in government circles is that those listed as laborers or drivers on their iqamas will not be able to meet the expenses of their families.

An Engineer/Executive with Visa Category: Cleaner

However, there are many expatriates in the Kingdom who are working in top jobs and are earning healthy salaries, yet are only classed as laborers or similar on their iqamas.

Take Abdul Kareem’s case, for instance. He arrived in the Kingdom from India in the late 1980s.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in commerce, he took up a job at a prominent bank as a typist or tiba’a.

In the years that followed, he rose through the ranks and became a manager in one of the bank’s branches. However, he could not bring his wife and four children to the Kingdom because his iqama still classed him as a typist.

“I even produced a letter from my bank proving my salary to the isteqdam guys. It was more than SR10,000 then. They were sympathetic to my case but were helpless,” he told Arab News.

Abdul Kareem instead took the easier route of inviting his family over on Umrah visas. “The bank had shifted me to Jeddah, and that helped me reunite with my family on and off,” he said.

Like Abdul Kareem, there are hundreds of expatriates working in the Kingdom’s private sector in top jobs who have been designated by their employers as laborers to avoid penalties from the Labor Office for not meeting Saudization targets.

Low-category professions are exempted from rules that govern the implementation of Saudization or nationalization of jobs.

Expatriates in situations similar to that of Abdul Kareem have tried asking their companies to change their professions on the iqama. In many cases, they have succeeded.

“However, that option became too difficult with time. It is just not easy to change the profession on your iqama anymore. It is a very cumbersome process and needs a lot of wasta (influence) and money,” said Sarwar Shakoor, a Pakistani national working as an administrator at an Alkhobar-based IT firm. “I instead invite my family on visit visas.”


Published: Mar 19, 2010 23:21 Updated: Mar 19, 2010 23:21


8 thoughts on “No Change in Family Visa Rules: Official

  1. Good day! Meron po ba kayong marecommend na site showing a comprehensive procedure of applying for a family resident visa? Thanks!

      • Sir, eto po ang procedures na dinaanan ko:
        1. Paid 2,000 SAR to riyadh bank.
        2. Submit all documents with riyadh bank receipt to Stiqdam – Jeddah Office.
        3. Received yellow slip from Stiqdam.

        Ngayon po ay plan ko na ipadala sa pinas ang orig yellow slip. Question ko po, may expiration po ba tong yellow slip na to? Gusto ko po sana by november or december pa nila isubmit sa Saudi embassy para masigurado na valid pa by February 2012 ang magiging entry visa nila (since sa pagkaka alam ko po ay 3 months lang ang validity ng initial entry visa). I recieved the yellow slip, the same day I passed the docs sa Stiqdam office sa Jeddah on September 22, 2011.

        Salamat at mabuhay ka Kabayan!

  2. assalm alykum,,,, my friend is getting ready to enter in saudia by cleaner visa ,, his profession is a male nurse ,,, the hospital authorities telling that they will gave iquama as a nurse,,,,he have 2 yr contract and after contract did they change this cleaner visa to nursing visa…… any problem ,,,,,,in future

  3. slamm to all brother i work in benladian group and my selry is a 7500+alowences its will be gone more then 10700 , my quastion is only this i neeed my family here with me i am here steel febiction supervisor but my iqama is welder how can i get my family here ,FOR the gov plz sir let,s alow my family with me plz i working for harm makkah in king abdullah ext harm project sir plz for allah sake do some thing cz i will ask to allah inshallah about ur magfrah and for janah inshallah plz sir do some thing its better my wife with me i will not enter in any type of zinnah plz i am ur muslim brother also alah makes u our up and i will prey for u in haram also my family ,,,,, jza ko mulla kher 050 1071051

    • Imran,

      One important requirement is a university degree or college degree in roder to bring your family here in KSA. Without it, your employer can’t do anything. Change your iqama first and everything will follow.

      Good luck!

  4. Snared by technicality, expats call for family visa justice

    Published: Apr 8, 2010 01:59 Updated: Apr 8, 2010 01:59

    DAMMAM: A number of degree-holding single expatriates from Arab and Asian countries have written to Arab News requesting the authorities reconsider and relax rules governing the issuance of permanent visas to family members.

    Most of them are calling for family visas to be linked with an expatriate’s salary rather than his profession, pointing out that a large number of expatriates work in the Kingdom on low-category work visas but earn enough to take care of their families.

    Both the Arabic and English media have recently highlighted how the current system of refusing permanent family visas to “high-earning expatriates on low-category visas” has crushed the hopes and dreams of many happily married foreign nationals.

    Expatriates on low-category work visas are barred from bringing their families into the Kingdom on permanent resident visas. They are only issued to professionals such as engineers, doctors and executives.

    There are hundreds of expatriates working in the Kingdom’s private sector in high-end jobs who have been designated by their employers as laborers to avoid penalties from the Labor Office for not meeting Saudization targets.

    In a letter to Arab News, Sheikh Ameer Ali has requested the government to look sympathetically into the issue and to link the family visa with salaries rather than job categories.

    “We are respectable people and have come to Saudi Arabia to take part in its development. Our joy will know no bounds if we are allowed to bring in our families,” he said.

    “We don’t want to be parasites. What we are requesting is that those who are earning enough may be allowed to bring in their families.”

    Another expatriate, Muhammad Haroon, narrated the difficulty faced in getting permanent visas for his family members.

    “I have worked in Saudi Arabia before for six years. I had family here, and one of my children was born here. For some reason, I had to quit my job and go on a final exit. I came back recently on a different work visa and in a different job. This time when I applied for permanent family visas, my request was politely rejected. ‘Go, change your profession and then come back to us,’ said officials at the istiqdam office. I did produce a copy of my previous iqama with the names of my family members therein and even the birth certificate of the baby that was born here in Saudi Arabia. No luck, unfortunately.”

    Expatriate Mohammed Ali said: “We have heard of the magnanimity of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. We request him to intervene and to do away with this rather difficult rule.”

    According to expatriate Javed Zahid, more families of expatriates in Saudi Arabia only means more money will be spent here rather than remitted abroad. “It will be good for this market,” he pointed out.

    Zahid said expatriates were not a burden on the government.

    “They are earning their money through hard work, and if their families are here they will make even greater efforts in their jobs to earn a decent living.”

    Indian expatriate Mohsin Raza had an interesting point of view.

    “Our families are not coming here to take up jobs. There is this perception among a certain section of the population here that more expatriate families here will mean fewer jobs for Saudis. Or that their children will take away all the educational facilities in the country. This is not true. Our children can never be a burden on Saudi schools. All communities have their own schools and children of expat families enroll there.”
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    Comments20 Comments Post your comment Read all Syed A

    Apr 8, 2010 09:46

    Report abuse I would like to know the Profession on Iqama required for getting a Family Visit Visa. Whether an expat having Labour as his profession in Iqama can get it? Many expatriates don’t know the exact rules. So, they have to go through illegal means to obtain a family visit visa by paying a huge amount.
    I request to the concerned authorities that any expat can get his family visit visa irrespective of his profession, but salary as the only criteria.

    Memon Mohamed Iqbal

    Apr 8, 2010 09:47

    Report abuse I personally believe that the current system is fair enough to control all expats once family visa allowed for all categories then 98% of families will either work in Private School or Private Clinics (even if they are not qualified). With this present law Govt. can control over crimes and robbery etc…
    Mohamed Kabeer Ahmed

    Apr 8, 2010 09:47

    Report abuse Assalam Aliekum
    Profession is not important for getting family VISA,Though we are having Degree Certificate attested by the government of India(HRD) as well Saudi Embassy.All the expatriates are facing the same problem to get the family VISA.Few months back we saw the newspaper that every expatriates get the family visa on the basis of salay structure,we are very happy at that time.Can you please allow all the expatriates to get family VISA on the basis of Degree certificates which was attested by HRD.
    mohamed mukthar ap riyadh..

    Apr 8, 2010 09:49

    Report abuse Infact…
    in islam there is a law.. that a husbend didnt leave his wife more than six months…
    We are requesting you to follow our islam…

    Apr 8, 2010 09:50

    Report abuse Same problem. we are getting morethen 4000 SR + we have University certificates but our proffetion is house driver what I do

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