The first thing which a potential expatriate planning to work in Saudi Arabia should do upon receipt of his work visa is to get the job title verified from someone who knows Arabic. You may be recruited as a doctor, engineer or a nurse but have probably been given a painter visa. Not kidding, it is quite common to find people working in one profession whereas his Iqama would have something else as a profession and in result you r not allowed to bring Ur family as only some professions in Iqama are allowed to bring in their families. This has happened to many and people who have simply come on such visas have faced the herculean and near-impossible task of changing their job titles after landing in the kingdom.
So what’s all this fuss about job title in the visa?
Well, to begin with, you cannot bring your family into the kingdom. You may be a well-paid doctor or an engineer, but if your visa says that your profession is, for example, a laborer, then you cannot bring your family because laborers cannot afford / are not allowed to keep their families with them. Never mind if you are not one, but that’s what your visa says! Strange, isn’t it, but that’s how it works here. You will also not be allowed to take a car driving license for certain lower level categories.
So what are all the professions that are allowed to bring the families?
It is impossible to list out all the job titles which are not eligible to sponsor their families as this list keeps changing frequently and never been available so extensively in public. Hence, better to contact some professional agent who would be able to help with their contacts in the ministry. Also better to talk to the Saudi sponsor, as he is the one who has to move things to get the visa as one cannot do these themselves. As a thumb rule, if your visa profession is any non-supervisory category, e.g., labor, mason, carpenter, etc., you cannot bring your family.
So what should I do?
The safest thing for you to do as soon as your visa has been stamped in your passport, is to go to someone who knows Arabic and get your job title mentioned in your visa translated and explained. This would save you a lot of trouble later when you come into the kingdom. Many employers simply bring people on whatever visa is available with them. Some of them may not even tell you about your job title on the visa, and those who do tell you may probably promise you that once inside the kingdom it can always be changed. Don’t fall for it, because this is just next to impossible.
What is An “Iqama”?
An “Iqama” is something like a personal identification card that you get when you are in Saudi Arabia on a work visa. The Iqama is color-coded on the basis of your religion. Muslims get a green-colored Iqama and non-Muslims get a red-colored Iqama. All the details therein are in Arabic. You need to carry it at all times on your person. God forbid that you are asked for an Iqama by a Saudi authority and do not happen to have one with you!