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Saudi Arabia - At the heart of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is a conservative but hospitable kingdom where expats can escape the tourists and experience an ancient culture on its own terms. Find your own desert oasis and dive in the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia - An Expatriate Guide
I worked in Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia from May 2008 to November 2009. Having been made redundant in the UK I was looking for work, and a friend of mine was acting as a consultant to a Saudi airline, he suggested me to the airline and it all happened from there...
I've been here 18 months now and have always driven myself. I hire a Toyota Corolla for SR2200 a month. Driving here is a little daunting at first, but you soon (within a few days) get used to the random flow of things. It's not true about foreigners being locked up in the event of an accident (unless of course you've been drinking or caused a very serious accident). However if you do have an accident, it's helpful to have an Arabic speaking friend you can call to translate to the police, as most police don't speak English...
SABB is really good here and quite helpful. The only thing I would say to you is that you actually can't open a bank account here until you have an Iqama (which is your residence permit) - it usually takes a few months (three they say) to obtain this inshallah! All your UK cards will work here in the ATMs but to be honest its cash rather than cards that they like here. If you haven't got a bank account most companies pay you a cheque which you sign, take to the bank and they will cash it for you...
Non Saudis cannot own a business unless you invest a huge lump sum. You can go along with a business as long as a Saudi sponsor registers it as a business (CR number). Sponsors will take a cut of course and you will face problems if you disagree. It is normal procedure to take the employee's passport. The family passports normally can stay with them. Families have to get onto the employee's iqama (residence permit). You need permission to travel outside the kingdom...
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