‘Block’ visas in Saudi Arabia now valid for one year
Effective immediately, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MOLSD) has reduced the validity period for block visas to one year (previously two years). Block visas are, in essence, quotas issued by the MOLSD that permit entities to sponsor foreign national employees for long-term work authorisation. Affected companies will now have one year to recruit and hire foreign national employees before the expiry of their block visa privileges. This development builds on the government’s updated “Nitaqat” framework that has implemented higher “Saudisation” percentages across most industries, vocational training initiatives for Saudi nationals, and other measures designed to improve the representation of Saudi nationals in the private sector.