Saudi Arabia – visa challenge for ESL Teachers


Like most Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia has a major unemployment problem among its 26 million citizens, resulting in a jobless rate of 10.5%, according to government figures. The government has been trying to encourage companies to hire Saudi citizens for years with little impact.

Now the government is making a new push: Private companies in Saudi Arabia with more foreign employees than Saudis are to be hit with fees.The policy, which took effect Nov. 15, makes it mandatory for private companies with a majority of foreign staff to pay 2,300 Saudi riyals, or $640, a year for each expatriate worker, according to a statement by the Labour Ministry.

Many workers are exempt from the rule. They include domestic servants, foreigners with Saudi mothers, and citizens of other Gulf Cooperation Council members — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.

It is not clear how this will impact on the education sector for example with the Saudi Arabia’s insatiable appetite for ESL teachers but it is noticeable that visa issues for native born English speakers, the main requirement have been taking longer than normal. Canadian teachers being particularly badly hit owing to government to government issues that are causing the individual teachers to suffer and shortfalls of ESL teachers in Saudi Arabia.

We have been working with our clients to try and clear some of the hurdles that might help female ESL applicants for PNU who are:

  • First time applicants that want to teach at  Princess Noura University (PNU) and fit the criteria
  • Are citizens of and have returned to the USA, UK, S Africa, Australia or New Zealand because of visa issues and have no current contract but would like to return
  • ESL teachers from the same countries where the employer has breached the contract by failing to pay them when out of the country and where you have given written notice to terminate the contract.

We are unable to help where a contract still exists as this is deemed unethical in Saudi Arabia.

Our client is able to offer both letters of invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequently Iqama visas for those currently in their home country.

The terms and conditions of assistance are tight and the final decision rests with our clients and not ourselves but please do get in touch via the email links provided in the advertisements highlighted above.


Author: Christopher Slay


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