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KSA work visa and residence permit -how quick?

KSA work visa and residence permit -how quick?

Old Nov 19th 2015, 11:00 am
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Default KSA work visa and residence permit -how quick?

Hello all

My first post to the forum, which is very interesting reading.

Im currently sitting waiting to find out if the KSA embassy issue my work visa this afternoon. The company I work for want me to fly out Saturday, and I should have had my visa back in my hands today, but due to a block visa number work (the company HR sent an expired number in error) it was rejected. So, I'm sitting waiting to hear if I get on a plane in 2 days time or not, have no work booked (I'm a tech contractor), and wondering what on earth I am to do

The agency that recruited me stated that, until 2 months ago when Gove and Corbyn started their insults of KSA, obtaining a visa had been a relatively smooth process. Since then, there have been additional requirements put on top of the existing system, often introduced at the last minute without warning online by the embassy, which has delayed my paperwork over a month. Now the block visa error by HR. Reading between the lines and from what the visa agent tells me, this is all down to a souring of relations between governments to created a bit of a stink. Cameron and Hammonds charm offensive doesn't seem to have removed the insult. In addition to the normal process by which all qualifications needed attesting, all then additionally neededFCO stamping and back to another embassy dept for another stamp, then the requirement to obtain a police clearance certificate (never needed before for UK citizens) was introduced. I can understand the need in the current climate for increased security, but it has meant delay, frustration and a sense of being jerked about at the end of a long leash as a pawn between high level diplomatic tussles.

I wonder if anyone else has had similar issues and difficulties obtaining a work visa for KSA recently. I simply cannot see this getting turned around in time for a flight leaving in 48 hours....

I was originally due to start in January, but was asked by the employer to bring this forward to as soon as possible, hence it has been a fairly demanding and frustrating process (I need to rapidly acquire appreciation of 'inshallah') of two steps forward, one back. I told the employer that I was happy to come out early, but only on the condition I could return home for a week at Christmas, which was agreed- if I couldn't do this I stated I would prefer to go as originally planned in January.

However I am now wondering if there is enough time to complete the application for my residence permit (what was formerly the Iqama) given apparently I cannot leave the country until issued! (Another feature of life there I will have to rapidly acclimatise to I suspect). Do any recent arrivals have experience how long this is taking? I'm told by HR that my permit will be 'prioritised' but that is rather vague, and I'm a bit concerned I will arrive out there to find the ability to return for Xmas will evaporate in mists of red tape.

Comments, advice, or commiserations welcome. Best wishes to all.

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Old Nov 20th 2015, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: KSA work visa and residence permit -how quick?

I would mentally prepare myself to
a) leave at the drop of a hat
b) not be able to leave at Christmas
c) not leave the UK at all
d) have a great Christmas

that should cover all the options. Everyone has issues getting into Saudi which, considering what living here is like, seems a tad ironic. Anyway, anything could happen and preparing for that will prepare you for living here.
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