Development of oil industry is responsible for the growth surge in the economy of the Middle Eastern countries. This economic surge has cause the migration shift to reverse from east to west. People from all over the world are moving to Saudi Arabia because of the high yield jobs and absence of income tax. Saudi Arabia has got the biggest economy in all the Middle East, with around a million expats working in various fields. But the economic stability is not the only factor to consider when moving to any place in the world. In this article I will give the brief overview of the factors which are to be considered before moving to Saudi Arabia.
- PROPER SKILL SET AND A PRIOR VISIT: Before moving to Saudi you must visit the place once to check if the atmosphere as well as the culture suits your style of living and will you be able to adopt it. Second most important thing is to check whether your skills and education background is in demand in here. We have published several times that you need to make a market study before making decision of moving to Saudi Arabia. There is a good demand of technical jobs in Saudi Arabia but if you are coming here with experience of sales, marketing, HR, or administrative background, believe me, it is not a suitable place for you. Especially after implementation of Nitaqat Law, above mentioned jobs are just given to the Saudis. Have a look at this article as well, “List of Professions Reserved for Saudis”
- HAIA: HAIA which are a body of religious scholars play a direct role in government decisions. The law of Saudi is according to the sharia laws and these laws are governed by ulemas. Mutawas which is officially the committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice (HAIA), are the religious police who are always on rotation to ensure that people are behaving with proper decorum. They are extremely strict and very quick to catch any misdemeanor.
- GENDER SEGREGATION: Gender segregation must be a shock to most people who visit Saudi Arabia for the first time. There is minimum interaction between unrelated (non-mehram) male and females. Offices, banks and universities have separate entrances for males and females. Companies hiring female workers are required to have separate areas for them. Physical and visual segregation is required in all meetings and events including marriage and funerals. There are separate beaches, public transport, malls and amusement parks for women. The violation of the segregation law is known as khilwa. The expats who want to move to Saudi should have a very thorough knowledge regarding segregation.
- Women Cannot Do anything without permission of Sponsor: Women expats are required to have written permission of guardians to work. They are not allowed to drive and need to have permission of their guardian for renting an apartment as well as for purchasing a car. They cannot leave Saudi Arabia without permission of their sponsor. Sponsor can be her employer, husband, father, brother or son.
- DRESS CODE: The dressing code of Saudi is according to the Islamic law and it is to be carried out in public without any modifications. Women either local, expat, Muslims or non-Muslims, are required to wear long, loose, opaque and full body concealing robes called abaya. In cities such as Riyadh wearing head scarf is must which covers all of the face except eyes. Violation may get caught by Muttaween and may result in punishment or fine. We have published a detailed article upon this subject and you can read it here “Dress Code in Saudi Arabia”
- CLIMATE: The most important thing to keep in mind while moving to Saudi. If a person is moving from western countries then he may get climatic shock as well as cultural shock. The climate is very dry and very hot. In summers the temperature may reach up to 50°C. Though offices, homes as well as cars are air conditioned but you might have to face the climate one way or other.
Miscellaneous Information about KSA