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Corporate immigration best practices in KSA
Corporate immigration is a core part of most companies operating in Saudi Arabia, with the majority of the countryís population made up of expats.
Most private sector companies have a large portion of expats who relocated to be a part of the team. Corporate immigration in Saudi Arabia can be a complex and lengthy process; there are many requirements and regulations that make it difficult for companies without experience to follow. Most violations are accidental and due to a lack of knowledge but following best practices can help you remain compliant.
Below are best practices companies can use when operating in Saudi Arabia.
- Stay alert of new policies and regulations
Appointing a person to stay on top of new policies, laws and regulations will ensure you remain compliant. Reforms generally have a time frame to comply with and itís essential to ensure you are up-to-date with them. Ministries such as GOSI, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development and Absher are active on Twitter and share updates there.
- Treat global employee management as an ongoing process
The hiring of expat employees is an ongoing process. Once an expat has been hired, the process doesnít end there, there will be visa renewals, Saudization and regulatory updates that can affect the company and must be monitored. Managing this process requires time and resources but needs to be done diligently to ensure that you stay compliant. Appointing a person or team to manage this can help you stay above any changes that may occur.
- Create corporate immigration policies
Creating company-wide corporate immigration policies can help make the process easier for companies and employees. This will help HR manage the corporate immigration policies and create transparency within the company. Having consistency in the process and creating a single point of reference for employees and will simplify the process. Corporate policies can cover visas, documentation, process, costs, FAQs and any other relevant topics.
- Hire a GRO
Whether inhouse or outsourced, a GRO will help you complete government related tasks and ensure you are compliant and assist in government requirements such as checking your documents are in the correct legal format, attestations, and visiting government offices where necessary.
- Employee data management
Keeping a centralized location for employee immigration data; document copies, attestations and status of immigration will help companies track their corporate immigration. Knowing when to renew visas or licenses and when to submit renewals makes the process more manageable. Employees having access to their records will also allow them to track their status of immigration and assist where necessary by providing documents, for example.
- Maintaining Saudization
Before you can hire expats in your organization, you must check the Saudization requirements for your company. Saudization will affect who can be hired and for what positions, for example, in Saudi, receptionist positions must be held by Saudi nationals. This may change depending on your company size and industry, but knowing this means you can plan your hiring strategy for expats.
- Budget for expat visas
Companies need to evaluate their budget to ensure they can afford the fees associated with hiring expats. The work permit processing fee is set to increase every year until 2020 per expat and their dependents.
As corporate immigration is a standard part of doing business in Saudi Arabia for most companies, having company policies to remain compliant shows your due diligence to comply with laws and regulations. Itís advisable for companies to create standard processes and policies that employees can follow to reduce delays and errors in the process.