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Old Apr 24th 2012, 12:18 am   #1
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Question Riyadh?

Hi all, first post here and I would appreciate some advice. I've been "asked" to work in Riyadh for a period. My probable fiancée would not come but is prepared to wait (but is not thrilled).

Upsides -

(i) I get to keep my job; and
(ii) tax free living (probably - need to check with an accountant).

I would be getting £100k+ per annum, possible small bonus, plus free accommodation, help towards car and a £10k moving allowance. My parents might like to come and live with me for a bit (they are both retired).

I live a modest lifestyle and would primarily be aiming to save money and also looking for promotion on my return to the UK. Riyadh sounds like a "challenging" place to live and is not really my cup of tea (I have previously lived in the region so can speak from experience).

I would not be getting much of a payrise (other than the tax free element) for going - is this usual from UK -> SA?

And the biggie - should I do it? Opinions gratefully received!
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 1:58 am   #2
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Default Re: Riyadh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimster99 View Post
Hi all, first post here and I would appreciate some advice. I've been "asked" to work in Riyadh for a period. My probable fiancée would not come but is prepared to wait (but is not thrilled).

Upsides -

(i) I get to keep my job; and
(ii) tax free living (probably - need to check with an accountant).

I would be getting £100k+ per annum, possible small bonus, plus free accommodation, help towards car and a £10k moving allowance. My parents might like to come and live with me for a bit (they are both retired).

I live a modest lifestyle and would primarily be aiming to save money and also looking for promotion on my return to the UK. Riyadh sounds like a "challenging" place to live and is not really my cup of tea (I have previously lived in the region so can speak from experience).

I would not be getting much of a payrise (other than the tax free element) for going - is this usual from UK -> SA?

And the biggie - should I do it? Opinions gratefully received!
Welcome............

You get to 'keep your job'? You hope for a 'promotion' when you return to the UK? I think you've answered your own question........ that sounds like the proverbial 'offer you can't refuse'. And that's good money, even if you are earning something similar now.

Not sure you'll be allowed to bring your parents over though....... and I wonder - do they know what Saudi is like?
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 2:48 am   #3
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Default Re: Riyadh?

To be UK Income Tax and NI free, the period you mention will need to span a full tax-year (see HMRC6, Section 8.5). As a guide, I'd say the packge was about right for a construction professional, Chartered, with about 20-25 years relevant experience.

Whether or not to do it is a tough call. If you are facing redundancy and unemployment in the UK, then I'd say yes, but plan to be there for two years.

[J]
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 4:25 am   #4
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Default Re: Riyadh?

I like this.... 'probable fiancee'. Are you telling us you will propose before you've actually proposed? Or have you proposed already and she is 'considering'.
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 7:17 am   #5
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Default Re: Riyadh?

If you do decide to come make sure housing on a decent compound is arranged for you. There are shortages of villa's and the prices high.

Don't know much about tax except the basic understanding you need to be here minimum 2 years and only spend 90 days of each year in the UK. Sadly, we have been here so long it doesn't matter for us.

You can bring your parents out on a visit visa. My outlaws enjoyed sitting by the pool all day and soaking up the rays. Riyadh also has some decent restaurants (minus drinks of course). My parents, who already live in sunny, pleasant climes were somewhat less impressed with Riyadh.

Good luck with your decision...
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 9:46 am   #6
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Default Re: Riyadh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimster99 View Post
Upsides -

(i) I get to keep my job; and
(ii) tax free living (probably - need to check with an accountant).

/>
Hi jimster99, Not only do you need to be absent from the UK for one full tax year but your contract of employment abroad must state that the contract period ALSO covers one full tax year. Visits to the UK after you leave must be less than 183 days in any given tax year and your average visits must total less than 91 days a tax year. This average is taken up to a maximum four year period of absence. Happy to help if you need any further assistance. Good luck!
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Old Apr 24th 2012, 11:27 am   #7
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Default Re: Riyadh?

If you already have a secure and well paid job, why on earth bother? You are hardly going to save much by working in Riyadh. My fear would be that, if you hate it and want to leave early, you may not be able to return to the same position. They say that you keep your job but how likely is that in the real world? If you were currently unemployed or earning a pittance, then that would be a different story. Also, you would undeniably miss your girlfriend.
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Old May 17th 2012, 1:32 pm   #8
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Default Re: Riyadh?

OK good folks, thanks for advice and I'm on board for the ride as company has offered me good terms and it seems to make sense. Eeek!!!
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Old May 17th 2012, 8:44 pm   #9
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Default Re: Riyadh?

Next issue...initial budget for accomodation seems to be 150k-170k SARs but I will need to find it (with assistance of a real estate agent).

I want a 2 bed apartment or villa on a solely western compound with bowling + tennis courts, plus a bit of a social life and welcoming of solo men (which I presume I will be classed as, even though I'm in a committed relationship back home).

I've read every webpage I can find and it seems I could (just) afford a 1 bed in Al Hamra (not big enough) or a 2 bed in Kingdom City (would be fine but limited availability). The Arizona compound seems out of my league.

I'm less keen on Cordoba, Grenada, Arabian Homes, and Seder Village just based on what I've read. California compound sounds good but not finished yet!

Living off compound on this budget would get me a massive place, but I don't think this sounds very sensible.

Any thoughts/advice?

Last edited by jimster99; May 17th 2012 at 8:46 pm.
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Old May 18th 2012, 4:52 am   #10
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Default Re: Riyadh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimster99 View Post
Next issue...initial budget for accomodation seems to be 150k-170k SARs but I will need to find it (with assistance of a real estate agent).

I want a 2 bed apartment or villa on a solely western compound with bowling + tennis courts, plus a bit of a social life and welcoming of solo men (which I presume I will be classed as, even though I'm in a committed relationship back home).

I've read every webpage I can find and it seems I could (just) afford a 1 bed in Al Hamra (not big enough) or a 2 bed in Kingdom City (would be fine but limited availability). The Arizona compound seems out of my league.

I'm less keen on Cordoba, Grenada, Arabian Homes, and Seder Village just based on what I've read. California compound sounds good but not finished yet!

Living off compound on this budget would get me a massive place, but I don't think this sounds very sensible.

Any thoughts/advice?
I strongly advise you to 'find it' before coming out - which means your employer will need to get involved. My Saudi experience isn't bang up to date but I imagine places on compounds are still hard to find (i.e. the compounds are full).

It's been a long time since you could simply turn up, stay in a hotel for a few days, then find several places to choose from. It WAS like that when I first went to Riyadh...... but that was 1992..........
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Old May 18th 2012, 6:15 am   #11
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Default Re: Riyadh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimster99 View Post
. My probable fiancée would not come but is prepared to wait (but is not thrilled).
I can tell you right now from personal experience that working out there will almost certainly kill your relationship stone-dead.

There is no way she can visit as you are not married.
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Old May 18th 2012, 6:54 am   #12
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Default Re: Riyadh?

-Fiancee cant come. you'd need to be married.

-parents, depends on what visa your company can get, but it seems unlikely

-The filipinios manage to live off site without difficulty, and i'm in 'hospital accomidation' (read: an apartment block) and managing without difficulty... though arranging such a thing when you first arrive would be a hassle.

Marry her today.
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Old May 20th 2012, 8:31 pm   #13
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Default Re: Riyadh?

welcome to Riyadh, I am sure you and your fiancee will enjoy living in Riyadh.
if you have any Questions I'd be happy to help
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Old May 21st 2012, 12:49 am   #14
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Default Re: Riyadh?

With regard to compounds, the ones to consider are:

Eid
Cordoba
Arabian Homes

All family friendly and good amenities. I know you mentioned both Cordoba and Arabian Homes as not being of interest but I would put Cordoba in the top echelon of compounds along with Arizona and Al Hamra. Of course it comes with a hefty price tag. Stay well clear of Granada as it is an Eastern compound and is down right awful because of the tenants.

For a single guy you could also consider Ranco, pretty good social life!
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Old May 21st 2012, 6:13 am   #15
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Poster seems an Amber light for a traffic light party
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