Saudi Arabia – A Quick Guide for First-time Expats
Saudi Arabia – a land known for its tax-free salaries – comes with its shares of pros and cons. The country enforces strict rules on its citizens and more so on the expats.
For the first-time expats therefore it becomes extremely important to be aware of a range of rules in the country. In a lot of cases do’s and don’ts are stricter here than in other progressive Islamic countries. And to mention there are more restrictions on women than on men. So if you are planning to move to the Saudi read on:
1. Research and prepare: The country has strict rules about working and living here. And in most cases it is your own responsibility to gather knowledge about the various traditions and laws before arriving. Joining expat forums online is a good way to connect with other expats as well as citizens. Visit the Consultancy as well to know more about the formalities followed in the country.
2. When in Rome do as Romans do: The phrase couldn’t be truer in Saudi Arabia. Yet the paradox is you will find the two extremes of abstinence as well as indulgence (often illegal) thriving parallel in the country. For the expats it is important to understand that even with high-rise buildings and booming economy the country is deeply rooted in religious customs and traditions. To avoid any tiff with law here it is always advisable to be careful while “having fun” here. It is important for expats to familiarize themselves with the customs tied with their faith. Foul language is highly disregarded and can call for heavy penalties.
3. Women need to be extra careful: As mentioned before, women here have severe limitations of driving and moving around. As an expat woman in Saudi Arabia it is best for you to move in the city with your husband, son or a male blood relation. In case you are visiting alone, it is advisable to travel around with other women. A single woman here is not considered of “good character” and can invite unnecessary trouble for herself.
4. Carry your ID proof: This is a must for all expats. When in this country it is important to carry your national or local ID card at all times. Inability to provide the ID proof on being questioned by the cops calls for instant penalty or even imprisonment.
5. The country has limited western amenities: Jeddah and Riyadh are the top destinations for the expats here with accommodation, cafes and eateries. These two places house the majority of expat employees in Saudi Arabia. Westerners may not find places for socializing such as discos, bars or pubs.
All in all, a stay in Saudi Arabia should be nothing short of an adventure to remember. Of course, the earning tax-free salary is the main reason while most expats arrive here they should also strive to relish the culture of the country during their stay. Research holds the key to having a safe and pleasant stay here. After all, this is a land where you will find glittering artificiality complexly interwoven with strong religious customs.