By Yajush Gupta
- Saudi to consider permanent residence for immigrants
- Expatriate community welcomes the green card system with open arms
- Estimated an extra $100 billion to be generated yearly till 2020 as non-oil revenue
- Dramatic step to encourage foreign skilled workers
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the Second Deputy Prime Minister and the youngest Minister of Defense in the world,has announced for its millions of expatriates to introduce a “green card” like system.
Green card is an informal term for the US Permanent Resident Card, that allows individuals to live and work in the country on a permanent basis.With over 9 million foreigners residing in this massive kingdom,the new system would benefit both the immigrants and the government,who aims to double its non-oil revenues and raise at least $ 100 billion each year by 2020.
“The Green Card-like program and a plan to allow employers to hire more foreign workers above their official quotas for a fee could generate $10 billion a year each,” the deputy crown prince told the global news agency,Bloomberg in an 5-hour interview.
In an ambitious attempt to move away from its dependency on oil reserves, the proposed measure is among other programs that aims to overhaul the revenue generation model and ease the burden of lower crude prices.
“It’s a large package of programs that aims to restructure some revenue-generating sectors,” Prince Mohammad told Bloomberg.This initiative has already won an enormous support from immigrants.
“It’s excellent news for expatriates. This will give confidence to them that they belong to this country,” said Karimuddin,
a well-known pediatrician and a recipient of India’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Indian Diaspora Award).“It is a positive move and a visionary initiative,” said Zulqarnain Ali Khan,a Pakistani national who is chairman and CEO of Zultec Group.
“This is actually in recognition of the universal human rights of residency. We are glad to see the host government extending such a privilege to deserving expats,” said John Monterona, convener of the new OFW Forces Worldwide.
With such startling plunge of crude oil prices and instability in the crude oil market,the GCC (Gulf cooperation council) countries have been looking at alternatives to diversify its economy.With this drastic measure, sure is a huge step to stabilize the economy of the gulf kingdom, who have been heavily dependent on their huge oil reserves.