5 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia is Great for Expats | ExpatWoman.com

5 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia is Great for Expats

Saudi Arabia is full of benefits to expats and is the perfect place for expats who are looking to relocate to a new home.

Posted on

28 September 2016

Last updated on 6 September 2017
5 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia is Great for Expats

Saudi Arabia is full of benefits that most people aren't aware of. That's why its the perfect place for expats who are looking to relocate to a new home.

If you don't believe us, see for yourself! We've combined the top 5 reasons why living in Saudi Arabia is so ideal for expats... 

No Tax
Many expats will cite this as one of the main reasons they moved to the country. As of August 2016, there is no “tax payable on salaries for foreign employees” in the country. There is also no sales tax in the country. However, this relished benefit may change in the future.

Recent government and media reports cite that because of forthcoming financial difficulties due to many factors, including the falling price of oil, the Saudi government may start charging sales tax in the next year or so.
However, the Minister of Finance Ibrahim al-Assaf announced recently that there are no solidified plans to start charging income tax on expats working in the country. Al-Assaf, and the Saudi government, are no doubt aware that this would perhaps turn some expats (and foreign companies) away from working there in the future.

5 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia is Great for Expats
First-Class Schools
As someone who grew up in the international school system in Saudi Arabia, I may be a bit biased to these institutions, but I think many would agree that the international schools located in the country have a proven track record in producing well-rounded, and high-achieving students.

There are many private, international schools children can attend that adhere to the standards set by Western institutions, including the GCSE, PSAT/SAT, and the International Baccalaureate system.

SEE ALSO: 8 fun facts about Saudi Arabia

Tight-Knit Communities
Most expatriates in Saudi Arabia live on “compounds,” or isolated communities provided by companies for their employees. These compounds are typically surrounded by concrete walls and have at least one “security checkpoint” that separates residents from non-residents. Other expatriates live in houses or apartments located outside of compounds, but these also usually sit in a predominantly expatriate location.

Due to the separation of the expat community from Saudi nationals, expats tend to form very tight-knit communities within their compounds. This fosters unique relationships among residents that resemble that of neighborhoods in any other part of the world. Some compounds also organize community events, like softball tournaments or block parties, in order to encourage community cohesiveness. Many residents even plan international trips together! 

5 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia is Great for Expats

Prime Travel Location
Saudi Arabia sits in the heart of the Middle East, making it easy for expats to travel to countries like Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon for a relatively cheap price. Want to take a weekend trip to Jordan? Easy! A direct flight from Riyadh to Amman is usually around $200 to $350, and only takes on average two hours.

SEE ALSO: Crafts and crafters in Saudi Arabia
It’s also perfect for traveling to other countries outside of the Middle East, like Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia. Most expatriates take advantage of stopovers while heading home for required vacation time as well. If you’re heading home to the United States for instance, then you have the option to stop in major cities like Paris, London or Brussels.
Entitled Vacation Time
If you’re coming from the United States (or Canada) the entitled vacation time for expatriates under Saudi law will be shocking. Under the Saudi Labor Law, all workers (unfortunately this excludes domestic workers) in the country are entitled to at least 21 days annual, paid vacation time.

That’s almost twice as much as the average in the United States! (In fact the US doesn’t even require employers to give their employees paid vacation). Some companies in Saudi even provide reimbursement to employees for flight tickets purchased for their vacation time. 

Victoria H contributor expatwomanAbout the Author

Victoria is a trained historian and political scientist, as well as an aspiring writer and photographer. She holds a masters degree in Global Affairs from the University of Toronto, and currently works as a Content Coordinator with MaRS Discovery District. As a third-culture-kid who grew up in Saudi Arabia, she hopes to use her academic background to educate people about the world through creative means. Her blog Safar, features the stories of TCKs and expats, as well as commentary on travel, politics and culture.