Saudi Arabia to launch 'Green Card' scheme
The Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al Qasabi said that expatriates will be given the 'Green Card' if they are eligible and meet special criteria.
The Saudi official said that the new immigration law will, however, give priority to Saudi nationals and that expatriates "will not be competing with Saudi men and women in the labour market," Erem news website quoted him as saying.
Many Saudi nationals have expressed concern over competition from expatriates who would benefit from the new immigration route.
"The kingdom targets a specific category of investors and specific holders of this residence to enable them to add an added value, but without any competition with Saudi citizens, males and females," Al Qasabi reiterated.
In 2016, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the 'Green Card' scheme would be part of planned sweeping reforms.
Saudi's young crown prince has been at the helm of a programme of reforms - known as Vision 2030 - looking to modernise the country.
The ambitious young leader aims to revive the Saudi economy by diversifying it away from its reliance on oil exports, as well as driving up domestic spending through the creation of cinemas, music venues and theme parks.
Long known for its ultra-conservative mores, the kingdom has embarked on a wide-ranging programme of social and economic reforms driven by MbS.
Recent months have witnessed concerts, a Comic-Con festival and a mixed-gender national day celebration that saw people dancing in the streets to thumping electronic music for the first time.
Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab