Saudi Arabia is planning to introduce Green Card Programme to give permanent residency to foreigners, particularly Arabs and Muslims, within five years. The plan which is similar to US Green Card was announced by deputy crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman last week. Expatriates living in the Kingdom rejoiced over the new residency plan.
Many expats celebrated the move in social media and said it was “groundbreaking” as they had never expected it to materialise.
Those celebrating the move were emotional and appreciative while others admitted expats would be able to contribute more to the economy. The new plan will be able to generate $10 billion, with another $10 billion expected to be raised from the fees imposed for exceeding foreign worker quotas.
Expatriates will get all the benefits and services being enjoyed by Saudis, including medical and banking facilities.
Many expats see the new plan as a huge deal for them as they are living in Saudi for a long time. “To be able to live and die in the country they devoted their entire life to is not a small thing for them,” said many expats.
Many feel the move bridges the gap between the locals and expatriates.
The Green Card System will help and give hope to those expatriates living in the country in special circumstances, like widows, orphans or single women where they need a mahram (legal male guardian) to stay there or get visa.
As for those who have been born and raised in the Kingdom, the issue of lost identity now looks less troublesome as they are able to prepare a long term plan for themselves.
Since the proposal is part of reforms that will help the Saudi economy to move away from oil based revenue, the Green Card system can benefit the economy by pumping more than $10 billion a year, hopefully with a multiplier effect.
Experts say that the new system will also help cut down foreign remittances by 30 percent.