Saudi Arabia: Beware of Local Hires

An expatriate may come to the Kingdom with a dependent spouse who is also a professional in his or her own right.  What opportunities are available for a spouse who would like to get hired locally?  Generally speaking the opportunities to work will be available but not always on the terms that the spouse may prefer.  As one hired from within Saudi Arabia, whether for a Saudi or an international company, will usually mean a lower salary and fewer benefits than the expatriate or hire of a Saudi national.   Therefore, one may ask, do companies take advantage of local expatriate hires? Yes.  Companies realize that they can engage an expat locally for far less than the sponsorship costs of hiring someone from abroad.  However, the cost saving benefit is not given to the local hired expatriate for his or her expertise.  That is kept within the company.  Benefits are kept a bare minimum too.  Some expatriates have had success with their local employer in their agreement for the expatriate to travel to nearby Bahrain where they can be hired as an international expatriate instead of a local.  However this is not the norm.

My advice to the dependent spouse who hopes to work is to do as much preliminary research prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.  Try and identify an opportunity so both get to travel with their own international contracts and benefits.

Another suggestion for consideration is for the dependent spouse to have a viable skill which can be independently marketed in Saudi Arabia.  This skill can range from accounting, editing, writing, research, analysis, teaching, etc.  Additionally be careful and expect to be asked by many potential clients to do a percentage of the work at no cost towards demonstrating your skills.  Once the word gets out, you’d be expected to provide free or heavily discounted services to most customers.  Do not let any potential client try to convince you that is the way business is done in Saudi Arabia for free lances.

Talk to other expatriates.  Be imaginative, professional, identify needs and create a niche market.


One Response

  1. informative!! ill inshallah be in saudi in a week on a work visa ..dont exacty know what visa it is ..cant verify it on coz still i dont have a id in some blog i read the importance of visa ..till now i thought saudi is country differentiates between male and female ..but now i come to know there is a BIG divide between what people do based on thier work ..the country of ISALM which says equality differentiates between humans SO interesting .. and i am sure allah tala will soon take islam away form these bunch of cowards and replace arabia with beautiful people

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