Working as an expat for a Company in Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia

There are many opportunities for working as an expat for a company in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East, but working in Saudi Arabia as an expatriate is very different from any experience I have ever had anywhere else in the world. Finding employment in Saudi Arabia was relatively straight forward as quite frankly not a lot of people really want to go there!

This hub will inform you as to what it is really like to work in Saudi Arabia as both a western expat and also what it is like for those expatriates who hail from less affluent regions of the world such as many parts of Asia.

I am originally from the UK, in my early 40s with a fairly broad background, having worked in a number of different industries in management positions as well as some consulting and advisory work. I am reasonably well educated with a Masters Degree and heaps of training courses attended and so on. I have had the opportunity as a consultant in the UK to visit many hundreds of companies and during my previous positions I have worked for both US and German based companies and had the opportunity to work in these countries for several weeks at a time during my career.

I first came to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to work with a consultancy, I was actually interviewed for a different job which I was originally going to be employed in but the Arabic boss of the guy that interviewed me “stole” me! I came on a business visa, allowing me to work with the business for 3 months, during which time they were to sort me out with a work visa for Saudi Arabia.

Visa to work in Saudi Arabia

This essential guide to getting your Saudi work visa should be read before you consider traveling to KSA, learn the difference between a work visa and a business visa and which type you should have.

Arriving in Saudi Arabia to Work

I arrived in the kingdom early evening, was taken to my Saudi compound and was drunk before bedtime! A great introduction to the kingdom and compound life. The following day I was driven from the compound and introduced to everyone and given plenty of helpful advice about what to do and what not to do (Including staying clear of the illegal home made alcohol)!

Work was not exactly pressured, and I had the opportunity to visit a number of different companies in the kingdom doing both consultancy and various training courses. This allowed me to see how people worked and behaved in a number of different companies first hand as well as the stories that I was told by others.

Working in Saudi Arabia as an Executioner

Finding work in Saudi Arabia

If you want to work in Saudi Arabia there are many positions available for you to fill in many different industries. This guide to finding work in KSA will help you in your search for work.

Working in Saudi Arabia

Employment in Saudi Arabia
Employment in Saudi Arabia | Source

Why do Companies Employ Expats in Saudi Arabia

Most companies in Saudi Arabia employ a large number of expats who do the work, but the government is trying to reduce the number of expats by making many jobs Saudi only due to high Saudi unemployment, forcing the companies to employ Saudis. Companies that do not employ enough Saudis being “blacklisted” when it comes to getting more visas for additional staff. This Nitaqat law gives each company a rating, with those companies in the red having to shed foreign labor and being unable to recruit more.

Most unskilled labor is performed by expats as it is very much seen as being beneath a Saudi, you will be hard pressed to find a Saudi working in any area that requires them to get their hands dirty or raise a sweat.

You will also find many management and engineering positions filled with expats, especially where those positions are vital to the functioning of the company. This is due to the fact that there are few Saudis who are either qualified or experienced to fill these positions. Some positions are always filled with Saudis such as HR as these positions are only available by law to Saudis.

Why Don't Companies Want Saudi Workers?

Saudi workers are “different”, that is about as polite as I will be about them, the Saudi society is not set up to create hard working well educated individuals. Whilst there are some real gems out there the majority are not what you would want within a company in the west!

Now there is a reason that most companies want to employ expats rather than Saudis. That reason is that they want someone who is both able and willing to do the job; the majority of Saudis failing on both counts! I have said in another of my pages (expatriates in Saudi Arabia) that most Saudis behave like teenagers, one minute they are helpful and friendly the next minute their mood changes and they are difficult and lazy! Trying to get a Saudi to do some work is like asking your teenager to clean their room, some will get on and do it, others will try to find any excuse possible not to. You have to keep on them constantly and it still may never be done!

The company that I work for currently is not a pure Saudi company, it pays above the average and is very selective as to who it employs, most of the people are hard working individuals who are very good at their job, however, there are still a number of individuals who will turn up hours late in the morning, disappear for a long lunch break, then go home early (if they came back from lunch). The work ethic is also sadly lacking.

My current company in my opinion is one of the better ones, a good friend of mine here has a group of Saudi managers at his company that turn up at 10 or 11 in the morning, switch on their play stations in their offices, play till lunch time then go home!

Most do not want to work, and there is little a company can do about it! It is almost impossible for a company here to sack a Saudi worker, the rights all belong to the Saudi! Some actually employ Saudis that never attend just to make up their required numbers, these Saudis being paid to do absolutely nothing, purely an overhead for the company to maintain!

Where in Saudi Arabia will you work?

Working for a Saudi Company

Working in a Saudi Company
Working in a Saudi Company | Source

The Phrase Insha'Allah in the workplace

You can almost always tell when something is not going to be done, when the Saudi promises you when they will do it; they will say “Insha’Allah” which means “God willing”(Pronounced in-shar-laa or not-a-chance-mate). This seems to be the get out clause to most people here! When you are working for a company in Saudi Arabia you will hear this phrase often and will as a westerner become quickly sick of it due to the hypocritical way that it is used!

Another of my friends in a senior position started to make a little note against every action to which a member of staff said “Insha’Allah” to, he then charted every action that was not completed or was completed VERY late. He did this for 3 months before presenting back his findings.

100% of the items that the people had said “Insha’Allah” for either did not happen or happened so late that they may just have well not been done at all, whereas all other actions generally got done, some failures but not too many – he then banned anyone from using it!

What Happens if You Challenge "The Way Things are Done Here"?

He barely hung onto his job and was moved sideways within the company for doing this!

In general thing are done at a very much slower pace than you would expect or hope, this is frustrating and annoying at best, if you cannot control your frustrations and your temper do not come to Saudi Arabia!

Can Women Work in Saudi Arabia

Woman working in Saudi Arabia
Woman working in Saudi Arabia | Source

Women working for a company in Saudi Arabia

While I was in Riyadh for my first 9 months here in the kingdom I saw zero women in any business that I went into except the nurses in some hospitals that I visited. I saw no women in retail or food outlets; I saw no women working at all for 9 months! None, zero, not one!

The company that I work for is the first that I have seen in the Kingdom that has women working for it, but it's not a pure Saudi company and is run from Dubai. The Saudi Arabian women in general are better motivated than the men and often better qualified! There are others that employ women, but I have not been into them!

Women working in Saudi Arabia

If you would like to learn more about women working in Saudi Arabia and the many rules and restrictions that are placed upon them read this article about women in Saudi Arabia.

Working Conditions for Women in KSA

Women here are not allowed to work in the same general area as the men, they are separated, have their own office space, their own area to relax and so on.

The company is inspected on a regular basis to ensure that this separation is in place as well as how they are dressed and treated in the workplace.The law here is that women are not allowed to be alone in private with a man who is not her husband or a direct blood relative (brother, son, father). Many argue that the workplace is not in private as most areas are open with other people about, but there is still huge amounts of trouble regarding this!

They claim relatively high levels of employment for Saudi women but quite frankly I do not see it!

They have made moves to increase the number of women employed by making some jobs available to women only, this includes working in places such as lingerie stores.

Working in the Saudi Oil Industry

Getting Paid when working in Saudi Arabia

I have no problem with this aspect of my employment with my current employer, however for some it is a major issue. The bigger, better organized companies pay by direct bank transfer, which means zero problems. Some, however pay by check which can cause some severe problems and delays.

There is a real trust issue with Saudi management, and often things like checks are only signed by the guy at the very head of the company and maybe one or two others. So if these are on vacation or out of the country on business, there is no one to sign the checks, this has happened to me twice in my previous company delaying payments by a week or more.

Some others report to me about delays that take months and having had to threaten to quit, leave work unfinished and make other threats before they are paid. Thankfully, this is not a massive problem with westerners, but it does happen!

Salary Issues in Saudi Arabia

If you are not a westerner and you have come here from the Philippines or India or some other “poor” country, then beware, especially if you are working “house”! Many families will give you a contract with one wage and conditions and then pay you less and give no time off! Sometimes wages are not paid for months at a time. This is a VERY common practice and is why so many maids and drivers run away from their employers here, along with the bad treatment!

I have some friends (Filipino) that work for a group of hospitals here, they have not been paid for six months, they survive by doing part time work and borrowing from friends. They cannot officially work for anyone else as they can only legally work for their sponsor and they cannot leave as they need to get a visa through their sponsor! This case does not affect a few workers, I am talking about hundreds of workers for this one company all in the same situation! This is now being tackled by the embassies and the labor office due to the scale of the problem, but there are many smaller problems that go unseen for many months before the staff just leave helpless and work illegally to support themselves and their families.

How Saudis treat expats

For a fuller discussion regarding this subject you can follow the link to read about how expats are treated by Saudis.

Working as a Domestic in Saudi Arabia

Treatment of Expat Workers in Saudi Arabia

I know of few westerners with real complaints about treatment, but again if you are further down the ladder in the working world you can have real problems. Treatment of expat workers in Saudi Arabia is a real issue for those from less wealthy nations!

I have often witnessed Indians, Filipinos, Indonesians being shouted at and even struck by their employers over minor problems! If you follow the link to the hub about how workers are treated you will find a poll conducted there; some 65% of non-western expats report having been physically or verbally abused by Saudis.

I have also heard from many women (Filipino and Indonesian) about sexual assaults and rape at the hands of male members of the families that they have worked for, they have had to endure this treatment as they are literally locked up and have no contact with the outside world. Many of the other female workers feel very pressured into a “relationship” with male household members, they do not call it rape but in my mind it is. The men are using their position of authority to pressure these girls into doing what they want as they fear losing their jobs and income etc.

Runaway Workers in KSA

Many of these women suffering abuse try to run away the first chance they get when they are on the outside and join the many illegal workers or camps of people waiting to be deported!

In one area of Jeddah there are thousands of workers living rough waiting to be deported by the authorities, the embassies arranging flights as often as they can to send them back home.

These people really have few rights, most cases will never come to light as the workers are too scared to report them or if they do, they are dismissed by the police as the Saudis can do no wrong!

Termination of Employment in Saudi Arabia

I have mentioned earlier in this article about the process of making more jobs Saudi only to improve the rate of unemployment within the country and also the fact that it is almost impossible to get rid of a Saudi worker no matter how poor they may be at their jobs!

I have now fallen foul of these rules and found my employment terminated! The company refused to give me the notification period stated within my employment contract and the related pay, and took no notice of my lawyer letters who pointed out my true entitlements through Saudi Labor Laws.

Worse than this, the first lawyer that I attended turned out to be on retainer to the company that I worked for and gave all paperwork and other information that I shared with him directly to my employer!

Taking Your Employer to The Saudi Labor Court

My employer's attitude was very much along the following lines; "take us to court if you like, your case will not be heard for several months, during this time we will not pay you, you cannot work for anyone else, you cannot leave, we will not give you a car, we will not pay your housing! If you accept our offer, we will give you a reference and let you transfer your employment."

In the few months prior to this the CEO had me redesign the whole company structure and was telling me how my role was to be expanded, after my letter he just refused to see me! They also waited just 1 day after I completed a major piece of work that no one else could have done before giving me my notice.

The guy in the Saudi Labor office confirmed it could take a year for my case to be heard, and the company would not have to pay me during this period and that I would not be allowed to work for anyone else! It also transpired that the guys in labor office were also regular dinner guests for one of our senior directors!

My lawyer's response to all this was to sue, as I would win, but I would have to pay him the equivalent of 2 months salary in advance, and still have no income for the next year!

Needless to say I had zero choice but to give in and accept what I could get from the company or face losing a year of my life! During this time I was intimidated and threatened by various people in the company, never have I ever been treated so badly!

How to Survive Working in Saudi Arabia

Read the whole of my series on Working as an Expat in Saudi Arabia to fully understand exactly what you are letting yourself in for when you consider working in this inhospitable country. Deciding to work for a company in KSA is not a decision that you should take lightly, do as much research as you can and fully prepare yourself.

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Comments 277 comments

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

There are many people from my country who work in Saudi Arabia. Some people say they get good salary from this country. Thank you very much. Vote this up!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for your comments, yes salary can be very good but conditions working here in saudi can be very poor, especially if you take a job from your country.

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asherxlee 6 years ago

I can imagine the huge difference in the work environment compare to the work environment in the United States.

This is a great experience and you most likely learned a lot from it.

nniirr123 profile image

nniirr123 6 years ago from Karachi & Riyadh

I absolutly agree with you as I am living in riyadh saudi arabia since last 7 yrs and I have found not even a single saudi who works efficiently or if I become more reliaistic I would say they just don't work and I thinks that is why saudia has that large number of expats living and working on key posts. In last 7 yrs the total number of women I met is Two my wife and my Aunt.

As I am working with a UK based company my employers are paying me well thats the only reason for me to stay here.

Any ways I like the way U have expressed your feelings and they way you have described the situation good work.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Asherxlee; I have always loved experiencing other cultures and so on, but here can be really extreme! As Nniir (thanks for your comments also) says the Saudis do not on the whole work, most attend at some point in the working day but the majority are very work shy!

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA

I can see this hub being very useful to someone considering this sort of employment, though you would have talked me right out of it!

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Pcunix, I think better to tell the truth rather than gloss the place up. Working for a company in Saudi Arabia is very different from working with any other nationality. They are the most difficult people that I have ever had to work with and that is without getting into any religious type differences.

Coming here to work would be a real shock to the system for many people, some go straight back home after a couple of months if they can, but others seem to like it and stay here for decades.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

WOW very different indeed, you have got to be home sick. I learned much about the Saudi work force and procedures.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for the comment Katie, surprisingly I am not at all homesick, I love to travel around as much as I can and experience new things.. Working for a company in Saudi Arabia is an experience I assure you!!

Syed Neaz Ahmad 6 years ago

You talk about the fortunate 5% of the expats in Saudi. Most of them live in compounds, protected & pampered by their sponsors.

The other 95% work long hours, are under paid - if paid at all - and live in miserable conditions. They are routinely abused, tortured, raped, nailed and forced to jump out of 7th floor window (reported in Saudi Gazette yesterday)if unable to please their masters.

All these reports appearing regularly in newspapers every week - in Saudi & other Gulf countries - are enough to tell the world that all isn't well inside the Kingdom.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Syed, thank you for taking the time to read. I agree that I am one of the fortunate ones here, If I were an Indian or a Filipino I would hate it here I am sure! I do mention in some of my other articles the sorts of abuse that the less fortunate workers here have to endure.

There have been many cases reported lately as you say of abuse, this is a step forward as I have heard of many past cases that were never reported or prosecuted. I hope that the country can continue to move forward as it is doing now. It makes things sound worse I know but it is a step in the right direction, if the sponsors / employers know that they can now be reported and prosecuted maybe they will start to think twice before they abuse their workers.

The majority of Saudis are peace loving friendly individuals, but like any society they are let down by a few cruel individuals.

jogjakarta profile image

jogjakarta 6 years ago from Yogyakarta

Nice Blog Friend Hit F u

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for stopping by Jogjakarta.

Wrath Warbone profile image

Wrath Warbone 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

How does one become a Saudi? Sounds like my kind of job. No work, lots of pay, can't get fired. They are not as dumb as I thought! lol. Not exactly the image I had of the average Muslem.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

It was not the image I had either Wrath until I got here, there are some very nice hard working Saudis, but far to many of the ones that you mention in your kind comment.

FuzzyCookie profile image

FuzzyCookie 6 years ago

The thing that stuck me is your mention about the word "Insha Allah" and i feel that ppl dont use it in the correct context anymore..

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

No Fuzzy, they certainly don't! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mohammed Abdul Mujeeb 6 years ago

Even after hearing all this many people still ready to come Saudi Arabia, Because only 2 percent problems are there but writers write as 98 percent problem, mostly non Muslims they don't like because there is no freedom for drinking and prostitution

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mohammed, as a non-Muslim living in Saudi Arabia I neither drink excessively nor do I have any problems with regarding prostitutes, your generalization is what you are complaining about with regards to reporting the problems in Saudi! I would just like to say that I see more drinking, drugs and prostitution than I have ever seen in the west! I was totally shocked by what I have seen here. So instead of complaining about what is written, which is true, speak up about those people in your society that do such things and shame them from doing it, turning a blind eye to it is as good as saying that it is ok! People are too fond of abusing the messenger than dealing with the message!

nik 6 years ago

hi - i am a single male westener who has een offered to go to saudi to work for a fmcg company. can you tell me if i would enjoy compound life, what it is exactly and do you think it is worth it . im 27 and will be based in dammam. is there alcohol, girls and a social life - how do they treat you in the business world and what is the general life like

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Nik, have a read of all of my Saudi Hubs for a little more information. Dammam is probably the most relaxed place to be, however the alcohol etc are still not legal. That does not mean that you can't get them, easily and regularly.

As to compound life, it can be a little like being on a holiday camp for too long! It does become a little same ole same ole after a few months..

Working for a company in Saudi Arabia can be a little frustrating at times, but the benefits in the end are worth it in my mind.

Mansoor 6 years ago

Hi LeanMan:

I do agree with you to some extent but you have summed it all up by saying that "the benefits in the end are worth it in my mind"...

Delilah 6 years ago

You have provided a completely accurate, realistic picture of the expat experience here. It's about time. This should be "required reading" especially for foreign nationals from India, Philippines, etc. who are often mistreated and not paid properly.

Very interesting about the Insha'Allah experiment. Great job!

satan 6 years ago

buddy most of what you said is true,and im living in Korea and most of us show the the negative sides as we are expats, Saudis are not lazy but westerns do.they have money SO SO SO i guess they take it friendly in job and work for them as a game^_^,but if you ask most Saudis for a help they would do it for free,most westerns are not helpful and would do every thing in the name of money, i,m sorry but you have wrote much negatively about Saudis as your fingers are the same,and don,t think the hackers are originally Saudis,and they work to get money as you want to get money as you said, and you ended by saying it worthy. finally corruption is every where but relatively is high in the peninsula.i love the way you express ur feeling.and i apologize for my wriing cuz im not native as you know ,cheers

poonam 6 years ago

Ive never been to saudia but I can imagine the amounts of rapes that take place. Because havin been to dubai I was raped my police. Yes ppl are friendly but as a female if you ever ask for directions or talk to a man you would be considered as a prostitute and they will automatically rape you and there is nothing you can do. Also from there you will be labelled as a prostitute.

anti imperialist 5 years ago


single person moving to Jeddah to teach at private school...

Do you know where in Jeddah I can find a new or used golf cart with a shade (or even better, air con ha ha)?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Join one of the golf clubs there I am sure you will find what you are looking for. Hope you enjoy working in Jeddah KSA and the experience of working for a Saudi company.

Khan 5 years ago

Hi i am intending on applying for job in KSA. I am British national accountant, the company is offering free housing etc(ex-pat package) and 18k KSA each month? is that a good salary/package, i am a bit concerned on salary part. Can some one help?

Desi_gal19 5 years ago


My ex boyfriend is moving to Dammen and he is going on business visa and will be living in a villa. Hes father has his own business there, i dont know the detail of it, but He just graduated in IT from USA. Can you please give me little bit detail on how are the salaries there compare to USA. Will he make more money there?? Are there any restrictions for coming back for ppl who are on business visa?? When does the business visa usually expired??

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Desi_gal, thanks for your comments and questions about working for a company in Saudi Arabia. The salaries are generally much higher and are tax free (although there are some restrictions regarding length of time overseas during the tax year which he should find out about.)

As to returning on a business visa he should have no problems as long as he does not overstay.

AMC 5 years ago

this is so true...and im a filipino...very good hub...

D.A.Nadar 5 years ago


Unfair, unethical, unprofessional and nonchalant practice of offering jobs, by M/S Mohammad Al Mojil group,(MMG) Saudi Arabia, to job seekers, constraining them to incur expenses, keeping them on hold indefinitely and finally leaving them in the lurch unmindful of the hardships the recruited persons have been put into, depriving them of the job they were already having and throwing them on the street and ruining their family.

Head Office

Mohammad Al Mojil Group Building

King Fahed Road, Ibn Khaldoun

P.O. Box 11, Dammam 31411

Saudi Arabia Telephone +966-3-842-1111, +966-3-844-9111 Fax +966-3-842-5079, +966-3-842-5612 E-Mail & & Website

I applied and was interviewed by the Executives of MMG, Saudi Arabia. I was declared successful and selected. I was issued Job Offer by MMG.( copy enclosed) on submission of my Passport and I was asked to bring medical fit certificate and asked me to bear the medical check up fee of Rs.2850 which I paid and I was found fit and the medical certificate was also submitted to them. I was asked to get ready to travel in 3 weeks. The whole thing happened in May-2011. In June the company sent VISA AND MY PASSPORT WAS VISA STAMPED AND ONLY TICKET WAS TO BE BOOKED.

THEREAFTER My INNUMERABLE MAILS TO Mr.ALBERTO DE LACRUZ , HR MANAGER OF MMG SA DID NOT ELICIT ANY REPLY FROM HIM. My case was put on hold for three months and finally I was told in August that my visa has been canceled by MMG. I am shattered and thrown on the street. My family life is destroyed by the irresponsible and indifferent attitude of MMG.

I had been without job and income(UNEMPLOYED) for 6 YEARS. And I manager to get a job in India only last year . I am 55 yrs old. The job I was doing was earning me Rs.55000/- per month. I have taken education loan of 11 lakhs for my sons’ education. Their studies are midway. It will take another three to five yrs for them to complete studies and start earning.

I have been thrown on the street jobless for no fault of mine. I am 55 yrs old and how is it possible for me to find a job at this age in India. With great difficult, I managed to get a job in India in April 2010. Even though initially the salary was less now it has been gradually enhanced to Rs.55000/-. Because of the irresponsible way of recruitment procedure by MMG, I am again thrown on the street.





+91 22 25952449


desi_guy 5 years ago

Hi Leanman,

Your hub has been very helpful in understanding the Saudi life. What are your views about Aramco? I am confused

as I have read different things about it on the expat forums. Does everything that you have said also apply to Aramco? Any response would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Desi_guy (any relation to desi_gal above?), I have never worked for them but they are known to be one of the more progressive companies in Saudi Arabia. Aramco has its own compounds and so on and most of the people that I have met that worked for them seem quite happy with their treatment.

But I guess it is like any other very large company with some really good divisions and management and some that require improvement!

Arif 5 years ago

Hi my name is arif,i am 26 years old and currently work in delhi,i have completed my mba from australia,i am planning to move saudi arabia on an employment cousin stays there and is working as an of his friend would sponsor my visa and i had to pay around 150000 INR,,can u please advise me if i go there would i get easily job over it worth going there.please advise

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Arif, the rules for working in Saudi Arabia are very clear, as an expat you can only legally work for the person or company that sponsors your Visa.

Many people do go there on "paid visas" to find work illegally and many do find it, however in my experience this is normally the lower end of the work scale!

If you really want to go; apply for jobs there online, if you get accepted they will pay your visa expenses and everything else.

Arif 5 years ago

leanMan thank you very much your advice..Cheers

tonyboy 5 years ago

I've been working here in Saudi Arabia for three years now. Your observation of work conditions here is really true. There are advantages and disadvantages, and you clearly identifies it. knowing all these will allow you let play the game for your advantage.

harry j 5 years ago

Hi LeanMan....i'm a fresh graduate living in saudi...n currently applying fr a job here (bad idea i kno ;p) ....cud i have ur email address so u can help answer a few questions fr me...thanks :)

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Harry, glad to know that you will be working in Saudi Arabia, make sure that you follow all of the rules in KSA!

If you need to contact me you can use the link below the profile picture top right and if you need more information you can also use the links in the section below which will lead you to more information about Saudi Arabia.

Elam 5 years ago

Lean Man, I am desperate for answers. My husband applied and was offered a job with Al Ghad college in Riyadh. He completed all his medical work, verification letters etc. We are Americans and he is a paramedic that is supposed to teach at the college. Supposedly, the Al ghad college has partnered with a company to process the paperwork and has told us that they are waiting on the "cultural mission." We dont know what that means and we have sold everything to prepare for this move and we have been waiting for six months with little communication. Is it normal to wait this long?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Elam, the time from my first job in Saudi being offered to setting foot in Saudi was just two weeks! The second job only took 3 weeks to process all paperwork.

I have never heard of a "cultural mission!"

I suggest that you contact the college directly and ask them as they really are the only ones who can help you.

georges. 5 years ago

Hello Everyone

i'm a lebanese-canadian.

i suggest for all who want to come to Saudi Arabia.

to know first that they are coming here to make a living, not for alcohol or women,you should respect the culture and stop behaving with a westerner attitude, most of the people coming from the west are well respected and well paid in KSA, we all know how bad the situation is in europe and America...

if you come to KSA, look at the bright side,...good pay,safe country, no tax,enjoy the desert, learn some arabic, experience a very different culture....and if you move your can simply make a fortune...regards.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Georges, thank you for your helpful suggestions for working as an expat in Saudi Arabia.

Saeed 5 years ago

Dear LeanMan

I can see your experience in Saudi but in my view you as Saudi I agree in some part but don't agree totally. There are many Saudi experts and professionals are working in either gov or any company so that you can't tell All Saudi are not willing to work, the other part you did not mention the welcoming of Saudi people for foreigners and that could reduce your stress being stranger there. For me I have dealt with many western people and studding there, can't hid good working system, MORE pressure and less pay. Some of the Western people are very racist and too greedy and some of them try to get as much as they could money from me in different ways including my home-stay mother. So dear every society has it's own way of living, I can't say all Western people are NOT good because of some of them did bad to me. What I'm trying to say please DO NOT judge on all the society based on you individual experiences.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for your comments Saeed, I agree with much of what you say, many Saudis are very welcoming and very friendly. I have really enjoyed my time in Saudi Arabia and would be happy to keep working there.

June 5 years ago

Hi Kabayan/Expats Friends it is good if you want to work in Saudi Arabia but let me explain of my experience while I was there.

I been worked in Mohammed Al Zoaibi Corporation Dammam Saudi Arabia “MAZCO” 10 years but I have bitter experience because everyone is boss in Mazco Dammam office specially a Sudani and a Kerala guy which ware working as clerk and accountant some time Mazco is not paying 3 months of their employee’s salaries but the office staff are enjoying.

Mazco have managers without power. Mazco walampera.

You will suffer in Mazco if you want to go on your schedule vacation especially for ticket, pending Salaries, and other benefits.

So, dear friends if you want to work in petrochemical try to direct hire not through sub contractor but if you will not find chance for direct hire then go to Dar Al Riyad, Sraco, Eram engineering, Jal International and so on, but beware of Mazco he is a commission agent like a pimp some time they ate your all money.

Best of luck

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi June, thank you for relaying your experiences. of working as an expat in Saudi Arabia. Sorry that you had such a poor time.

Sudhir 5 years ago

Yes it is true.

Mohammed Al Zoabi Corporation Dammam (MAZCO) is Blood sucker Company

Please re-check if you are applying for a job you can find several good companies in Saudi Arabia but don’t go to this company because this is a blood sucker company.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sudhir, you have obviously had a bad experience working for a Saudi company, maybe you would like to tell us all about it.

Centaur 5 years ago

Dear LeanMan

I have been offered a job in an advertising agency in jeddah at a director level position. I am from india. Could you shed some light on how jeddah is in terms of work, social life, alcohol, dating, lifestyle, work etc...

How tolerant and urban or cosmopolitan is jeddah.

Info from you will be a big help

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Centaur, there are a number of links in the section below which will take you to more of my articles on Saudi Arabia which will answer most of your questions. Alcohol and "dating" are all illegal so be very careful if you do either of them in Saudi Arabia. Working as an Expat for a Saudi Company can be very rewarding financially but socially it can be a little bit of a downer unless you are very good at making new friends.

Jeddah is about the most tolerant of the cities in Saudi Arabia but the matawa are currently having a bit of a crack down in and around Jeddah so it is difficult to do anything that you are not supposed to do except at home or on a compound.

Amit 5 years ago

Hi Leanman

Thx for doing such good work and sharing your experiences/opinions. It really helps make the right decisions.

Well I am from india and have been offered USD 8000 or SR 30,000 per month in JEDDAH. Is this good enough for a director level position in an ad agency?

How much can I expect would be the rent for a fully furnished 1bhk and 2bhk respectively.

Are individual houses for rent better or expat compounds? Are they easily available?

How is transportation in jeddah? Avg taxi fares? Is the bus services good?

Apart from social norms are there any work related cautions?

I am used to an upper middle class lifestyle in india. Could I maintain a comfortable life with SR 30,000 and save around 3lakh INR per month?

Pl do let me know

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amit, I am glad that you are considering working as an expat for a saudi company, I am sure you will enjoy your time there..

The Salary is OK, you could probably find higher if you searched and waited but if I were you I would take it and get yourself established in Saudi.

The houses on compound are better and your employer will probably source you one as you are director level, these are generally fully furnished and will have all the facilities that the compound offers. Saudia City the compound for the airline is very reasonable but not quite as up market as some of the others. Most contracts also include your accommodation on top of your salary so check your entitlement. On compound you can expect to pay between 50k and 100k per year, off compound you can pay 20k to 40k but you would have to furnish yourself.

Transportation is terrible, read my hubs on driving (links in the section below), it would be cheaper to rent or buy a car if your employer does not provide - taxis are not that expensive but two trips can easily be more than the daily hire of a small car.

You will easily save the majority of your salary, I generally survived on around 4k per month and saved the rest of my salary.

Good luck.

sierradelta1 5 years ago

Dear Leanman,

Good morning,

This is sincerely appreciate your efforts in providing useful information to all seeking employment in KSA.

I am presently residing in Mumbai-India and work as a Flight Dispatcher, for a scheduled airlines in India. Recently I have been offered a job in Emir Airlines (a start-up scheduled chartered airlines intending to serve Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, having aggressive growth plans), based at Jeddah- as a Flight Operations Officer. I am supposed to join the company latest by 25th Feb' 2012.

I would request some information from you and would be very grateful if you can help me with some kind inputs on the below mentioned.

1. Can I get any information on the background check of the mentioned company?

2. What kind of visa should I expect to be provided for the mentioned job profile?

3. What precautions and checklists should I go through- before I actually travel to KSA?

4. What are the assistance that I can get from the Indian Consulate General- should I have a problem in KSA- whether related to my employers or any Saudi authorities?

5. What would you suggest as a fellow expat to other- helpful information ( related to work, civil lifestyle etc.) that would be handy during my stay in the Kingdom.

6. Any other relevant information.

I would be greatly benefit and sincerely appreciate your timely reply to help me out.

Sincere regards,


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sierradelta, thank you for reading, I am sure that you will enjoy working for a company in Saudi Arabia. I know nothing about the company but if they are breaking into such a large industry there should be a number of news stories and the like that you will be able to find online if you search..

As to the other information there are a series of links in the section below that can lead you to my other articles about Saudi, read those first , if you still have unanswered questions drop me another message.

Angleman 5 years ago


I am an engineer from India and got an offer from Saudi organisation in Al khobar, sponsors are from Saudi as organisation is a MNC based in USA & DUBAI. Would like to ask what is the best place to stay as an Indian at budget of 24 k SAR/ year. (Al khobar city) Hows the city ? I am already prejudice minded about the behavior towards an Indian but fortunately, there are already majority of Indians in the organisation so will not face the problem during the work at least. Main aim to go to Saudi to earn money as well as build a career.

Dude 5 years ago

Hi Leanman !

Many thanks for your reply to my question somewhere in your blog. I don't remember it where. My offer letter is as below.

1) 10 K/ month which includes 2k for housing allowances

2) They will pay for housing till I get Iqama and it will be on my account after that.

3) First time air travel (to and fro) to my account. (As they say it is a company policy for first time and after completing 1 year, they will pay for one round trip for me.

4) No family status till I became manager (S Grade) as currently I will be (M) grade). Once I get that promotion, I will be able to get family status and other benefits.)

5) Bonus, leaves will be applicable after 1 year of continuous work.

6) Probation of 3 months.

7) Medical benefits will be covered by the company and accidental insurance will come under group insurance scheme.

Company is saying that company is a start up company and expecting growth as it is related to OILFIELDS and once that happen everything will be review further. Unfortunately no period for that.

Please advice me on above points. Its a MNC but registered under local Saudi Sponsors which will be sponsors for me too.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Dude, the best thing you can do is find yourself a copy of "Saudi Labor Law", you can download on the internet easy enough and compare your terms against the requirements in the law!

I think you will find that you are entitled to leave in your first year and that the company should be responsible for your recruitment costs and bringing you to the country.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Angleman, I replied you on the other post you left, however you can get a fair apartment off compound in Al Khobar which is a reasonably open city. Good luck with working for a company there, I hope that you are sensible and save as much as you can while you are there.

Angleman 5 years ago


Thanks for d wishes. I am sensible enough to save money as fast as possible. Only worry is to get rid of d sponsors whenever I want. At that point of time there shud b any problem like company cnflicts, threatening etc. Does that happen regularly or in rare cases ?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Angleman, it very much depends on the company that you end up working for in Saudi Arabia. I know people that have had a very smooth time with their employers in Saudi and others that have nothing but problems! I think it also depends on your attitude towards your employers also.

Angleman 5 years ago

Thanks Leanman !

I hope I will have a smooth time with my employer in KSA. Let's see !

william 4 years ago

Hi Leanman. Thanks for providing such thoughtful responses. I am a forty two year old male from the US. I have a diverse work and education background. I have a law degree. Taught english in japan for 2 years. Owned a residential construction company in the US for 7 years. I am curious what your thoughts are on applying for work in Saudi Arabia for a guy like me. What positions or companies do you think are a good match? I enjoyed teaching- but oil company jobs sound interesting. In advance of your response, I appreciate your time and answer. Thanks

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi william, there are many construction projects going on across the country so these are probably your best chance of employment if you owned your own company for 7 years. So if you want to work for a construction company in Saudi Arabia the best thing to do is get yourself on the internet and start looking, it is certainly an experience not to be missed.

William 4 years ago

Thanks LeanMan. I appreciate your thoughtful response. I think I am interested in teaching english- unless you think construction is a better route? I reviewed your background. You are an accomplished professional. I was wondering if you have any career advice. I am looking for a fresh start.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Teaching can be a fulfilling career, although you will need the right qualifications for you to be taken seriously (and hired) as an English teacher, these can be discovered fairly easily with a quick search on the web and there are certainly plenty of jobs in Saudi Arabia to teach language skills.

Zongman 4 years ago

Hi, saudi arabia is good country for earn money, but here in almoji group m.m.g, in HR department manish amin is not good, he is not solving the problems of people, if u want tell him any problem then he will give u more problems, please terminate that kind of HR, if any mmg maanager is reading this message, he is now in western area of saudi arabia in rabigh area. He is thinking MMG companie is own by his step father, all emploees have problems by manish pushparaja amin, his mmg id number is 22344, if any mmg manager is reading this message please TERMINATE manish and send any pholippino HR there, thanks

Mohammed Sameer 4 years ago

I take a oaths I will never come back to this hell!

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Mohammed, I take it that you did not enjoy working for a Saudi company..

Unni Krishnan 4 years ago

Dear job seekers,

i am an ex employee of Mazco and still some of my friend are working in this company and they are suffering alot due to miss-management lack of co-ordination and specially for salaries, as you know the Mazco employees till now didn't got their salary for the month of February.

And the situation is going to worst day by day, so it is advised to search other than Mazco, because i am a victim of Mazco, i can’t explain now days how people are suffering in Mazco.

Best of luck

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Unni, Sorry to hear that you and others are having a hard time working for a company in Saudi Arabia. I hope that things get better for you, have you been to your embassy for advice? You should be protected under Saudi Labor Law so you can jointly make a case against your employer.

Sameer 4 years ago

I can see that you just focus on the disadvantages of having a job in Saudi Arabia. You also include a rare accident that happened like worker treatment.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sameer, if you would care to give me more advantages to working in Saudi Arabia other than money and the potential to take a job with a better title than you may back home please feel free to do so.

Mali 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

thanks very much for providing useful information. I am thinking to apply for assistant professor job at university/college. I am qualified for that and right now working in Germany. Do you know whether highly qualified peoples also face trouble regarding salary and bad behavior issues?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mali, good luck on finding the position with a company in Saudi Arabia that you like. The higher you are on the Saudis perceived scale the better you are treated, you should have few problems within work.

Musta 4 years ago


I recently visited Saudi for Umrah and really like the atmoshphere.

I am now thinking of applying for jobs in Saudi. I am a qualified accountant and work in London.

What are the best agencies to look at for accountancy related jobs?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Musta, in my experience a simple search using the internet and sites such as will turn up many jobs.

Musta 4 years ago

Another Question

Would I have to take an apartmnent in a compound or will I be able to find an independent 2 bed apartment in Jeddah? What are the rough prices for both?

What additional bills are payable and roughly how much if possible? (Gas, electric, water, telephone lines, internet, car hire)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Musta, you can find apartments off compound very easily (follow the links in the section below as there is an article about finding accommodation in Saudi Arabia.) You can from as little as 8k SAR upwards per year depending on what you are looking for and how nice an area you want to live in. For 20-30K you can have a very nice apartment in a good area.

The only other bills I ever had to pay were electricity (about 200SAR per month) and give the guard of the building 100 for organizing the water and another 100 for washing my car every day. Telephone I only used mobile and that can be as cheap as few riyals to very expensive depending on your usage and internet I also used the mobile network and that can be just 200 riyals per month.

Musta 4 years ago

Thanks! sorry which link should i check below?

I could not find the link for accommodation

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Sorry Musta, the links I was referring to seem to have vanished! I must have accidentally deleted them at some point, however the link that may help is

aslam rajid 4 years ago

im still working here in Saudi for a decade, every two years vacation to mumbai, yes is true that there's advantages/dis-advantages once you are working or living here. but don't overlook that most of the problem we've encountered specially in our jobs is from our colleagues and countrymen itself. the bad attitude of people mostly from KERALA... yes its difficult to work with them because of their conspirator nature.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Aslam, glad that you have managed to work here for so long, I hope that it has been profitable for you and your family. I hope that you don't have as many problems in the future.

salman 4 years ago

Hi Leanman.hope u f9.i jst need ur help..actually im new over here in saudia..i hv done master in communication studies and worked with TV chanals,telecom.sector . so i need a job bt i dnt knw how can i get a gud job over here in saudia( alkhober)plz guide me..i ll b thankful to u....

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Salman, use the internet; there are many sites such as that list hundreds of jobs available within Saudi Arabia. Good luck with your search.

soulkeeper 4 years ago

Sorry to hear about your stories. Im an overseas worker planning to apply for work in Saudi Arabia but not on a long term basis. Saudi Arabia is a good place to earn and save money but not over time. As you hear they are implementing saudization now. I hope you will find a better working environment in the near future. Goodluck sir.

DEVENDRA 4 years ago

im planning to work in saudi maaden aluminium company in ras al khair, please give me an idea if this company is good as employer and how about the place condition. thanks

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Good luck to you too,I hope that you enjoy working in Saudi Arabia.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Devendra, If you want to know about a specific company I would suggest that you join a site such as and find other employees for the company and contact them directly for their views. There are many social networks on the internet that you could use even facebook.

Deep 4 years ago

I would like to know from you that once

again I got a job offer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

they have offered me (per month)

SAR 3800 as salary and SAR 200 as food allowance, upto SAR 500

performance bonus (depending on the performance) they will also

provide transportation and accommodation. They will also provide two

yearly 21 days leave with salary and return flight ticket.

I will be deployed in ***** company as there out sourced unit in

charge and I have to look after entire Housekeeping activity and

Pantry and some part of integrated maintains.

Now my queries are:

1. How is the offer?

2. How are staffs there?

3. Cost of living?

4. How much money I can save from there?

5. And how is job security?

6. Is it authentic job offer?

7. Is there any chance or provability that after reaching there if the company won’t fulfill all the commitment which they have mentioned in


8. After reaching there if I found they are not fulfilling all the

said benefits, what action I can take?

9. During the employment if any emergency accrued in my home in that

case can back to India ?

Please reply, I am waiting for your reply on the basis of that I will

take the decision.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Deep, if you want to compare salaries you can do so on for most jobs. As to most of the other questions; I don't know the company so the best thing for you to do would be to go onto a site such as linkedin or even facebook and search other people that work for the company. You can then talk directly with people that have worked for them.

As to being able to save; if you have your food and accommodation already paid you will be able to save the bulk of your salary.

cuteme daw 4 years ago

I'm planning to work in SAUDI ARABIA. If ever it is my first time to work outside of our country the Philippines. Three weeks ago, I was interviewed by a representative from SAUDI ARAMCO. The offer is quite good that is why I accepted the offer. However, it is AL-FALAK ELECTRONICS L.L.C who act as a vendor for me, what does it mean? Did SAUDI ARAMCO hired them? Is there anybody who knows the integrity of this company? please help...thank you...

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cuteme daw, i don't know the company specifically. If you want to find more about it I suggest that you join linkedin and search for people that work there to chat with - or even facebook..

Deanman 4 years ago

Hi lean,

u r abolutly right, u have much experianse and knowldge of saudi arabia, how long u worked in ksa? R u still working in ksa now? What was ur job there?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Deanman, I am taking some time out to enjoy my earnings, worked last for a development and construction company and before that as the general manager of a business consultancy. I enjoyed working in Saudi and intend to return to the region soon.

Anonymous 4 years ago

Hi Mate,I have been offered a job as an associate in one of the firms in Riyadh.I am a mechanical Engineer and have spent 5 years working in a HDPE plant and post that I have completed my MBA from a Tier 1 B school in India.The compensation structure offered to me is monthly salary of 6400 SAR per month ,transportation allowance of 1000 SAR per month and an annual housing allowance of 19200 SAR the total comes to 108000 per annum.Please answer the following questions

Is this compensation at par with the industry standards?

Can I eke out a living with this compensation given that I will bring my spouse with me?

Are medical and insurance expensive since there is no mention about that in my offer letter?

Please throw some light on furnished accommodation for 2 people ?

Your inputs are very valuable since I have gotta send a confirmation to my employers within couple of days.Thanks for your time .Cheers

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mr Anonymous,

Good luck and I hope that you enjoy working within Saudi Arabia.

The wage that you mention can be checked on who have some statistics regarding salaries for the region; but at the end of the day only you can decide if it will be enough for you. Most companies adjust salaries depending on the origin of the employee so have that in mind when you look at average figures on bayt.

You should follow up about medical insurance as the company should be offering that to you as per labor law in Saudi.

You can find an "ok" apartment for 10-15K per year although it would be unlikely to be furnished. If you get in touch with your community there or use sites such as you can find some very cheap used furniture.

You can survive as a couple on less than 1000SAR each month if you are not extravagant.

Anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks Leanman for your prompt reply.I appreciate that.I am sorry I forgot to ask you couple of more questions.

The firm has said that they will bear my visa fee and if i leave the firm before 2 years I ll have to repay the entire visa expenses.Could you please tell me what would the sum be?

Also can I just quit the firm at will (I am not signing any bond)assuming that I don wanna continue there for more than 6 months if the going gets tough.

Sorry for troubling you however I am quite wary about working there.Cheers

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again Anonymous, the visa expenses will be the actual cost of the visa at the saudi embassy in your country as well as any other costs such as the medicals.

To leave saudi arabia you have to have an exit / re-entry visa and your employer holds your passport, so you can't just up and run if they don't want you to. I have known employees who have found better positions but have not been released by their current employers. Many will just go for a "weekend in dubai" but never return, if you do this however you cannot return for a whole year.

If you run however you lose any benefits that you have accrued and most companies will give you a bonus at the end of any employment.

S. AHMAD 4 years ago

Dear Sir,

I Am an accountant, having + 10 years experience in India. How can I get a job at Saudi Arabia. Please Reply

Email :

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi, I would suggest that you start looking at the various job sites online and start applying for a job there if you want one. is a good place to start.

Saudi_born_confused_Indian 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, enjoyed ur article!unfortunately much of what you have stated is true!i'm an indian, born and raised in saudi and lets say i share the same negative views about saudis!if anyone is thinking about moving to saudi, they should really try to work in a mnc, the working conditions are much better...i fortunately have worked for a fortune 500 oil gas company and dont have to face many of the things the people from the ''poor'' countries have to face....anyhooooo, if anyone has any question on saudi, i can be of help! email is

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments, but why are you a confused Indian?

Jack 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I am Indonesian working in Australia and holding Permanent Resident VISA.Now, I am working in the oil company in Australia. I am getting $200K + (before tax) in Australia.

I will be getting Job offer from the largest oil company in KSA, should I use Australian passport or Indonesian Passport. Is there different payroll package for different passport?



LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jack,

If you have an Australian passport I would certainly use that, the Saudis tend to make wage offers and the like based on your origin so play up the Australian side of things. Good luck and I hope that you get what you are looking for.

Jack 4 years ago


Greatly appreciated your response

ano 4 years ago

hi leanman

would u know if managerial visas are issued to foreigners easily to work in saudi. i mean visa and iqama with a managerial profession? gen. manager, executive , and the like of these


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi ano, there is always a demand for good management in Saudi Arabia and if the company is in good standing then they can get visas approved easily.

KK 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan, your expereince based views on Saudi life and working conditions are extremely helpful. Recently I have an offer as Assistant Professor in Dammam..recently completed Ph.D in you think 16000/month for a family with under 10 kids are enough. My UK citizenship is due in 2 years time however I opted to earn 2 years of savings and faculty position in Saudi as you know in UK the job situation is even harder and you cannot safe handsome amount of money as quickly as in KSA. Does this make any difference to come to KSA as Foreign National or not in terms of salary, respect, benefits, job security...your response will be highly appreciated.

KK 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan your experience based views on saudi life and working environment are extremely helpful. All I wanted to know is that

1. Does it make any difference of being UK or US national and national from countries like India and Pakistan in terms of respect, package and job security. I recently completed Ph.D in Respiratory care and offered 16000SAR+other standard benefits as Assistant Professor in Dammam. I have 2 kids of under 10 years. 2. My nationality in UK is due in 2 years time. However I am thinking to accept their offer start getting experience and savings.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author


There is a big difference in the package they offer depending on your country of origin for the bulk of Saudi Companies. A westerner will often get paid far more than someone from Pakistan for instance for the same position. You can check salaries if you register at if you want to compare your offer against what others are being paid for similar positions.

There is also a huge difference in how you are treated, especially outside the workplace, you will be judged on the nationality that you look like and I am afraid that if you look Indian or Pakistani and dress casually you are likely to be treated in the same manner that they treat drivers and other domestics, which unfortunately means minimal respect. In the workplace however it is likely that you will be treated far better, especially within a place of learning.

Good luck and stay in touch to tell us of your experiences.

kk 4 years ago

thanks LeanMan for your reply. Surprisingly I have 2-3 interviews in KSA universities recently and all offered me a position, however none of them asked me about the nationality at all. Do you really think that nationality still plays a role in salary determination even for faculty position at Doctorate level particularly when you are foreign qualified rather than foreign national?. One last KSA, they usually offer 1 year contract and it looks a bit uncertain...What are the chances that the contract will be renewed and what factors determine that?.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi kk,

I am sure that there are some organizations that don't play the nationality card when determining a salary, and you are probably right regarding faculty positions.

There is little job security at the moment in the kingdom with their various new systems to try to employ Saudis and punish companies that hire too many expats. But I would have thought that there would minimal competition within Saudi for your position, but you never know. The fact that they can get a visa for you says that they are meeting the current regulations so that is good news (unless they give you a business visa not a work visa!)

Generally contracts roll on without being renewed formally.

Peter Gration 4 years ago

Hi i am an Australian citizen, get a job to work with SBM(saudi Busienss machines) not bad package, any idea about this company how does they treat their employees? thank you in advance

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Peter,

I don't know the company personally. If you are on linkedin I would suggest that you do a search and see if you can link up with any other expats that work there and ask them about the company.

John Mcfarlane 4 years ago

hello there, thank you for these helpful information, any idea about the life in Khobar?and is the salary of 20kSAR/month base + 95k SAR/year home&maintenance is good for a single person?really appreciate your help

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi John, Khobar is quite relaxed compared to some other parts of Saudi. Your housing allowance will be fine, you should be able to get a place on compound within that and if you live off compound you can save between half and two thirds.

As to your salary, if you go to they have a salary comparison area you can use.

Adham 4 years ago

Nice blog man,

I'm lebanese and i've been in Riyadh for 7 months , I have to say i love my job, but life here is boring...same routine, no girls, no flirting and too much heat...

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Adham, glad that you love your job.. Life can be boring but there are always ways to liven life up.. Read my hub on dating in Saudi maybe you will get a few tips..

PhilSouth profile image

PhilSouth 4 years ago from South Africa

Wow i am scared now.... Got a job offer but got given a business visa with a 90 day intery. Was wondering if this visa will not allow me to work and have medical rights? Beacause the company offer grade A medical insurance but if you don't have the Right visa will you still have the right to go and see the Hospital or Doctor? Or will you have to pay cash or die?

I have read most of the info on the Hub but there still seems no clear understanding as to the access you have once not on the iqama visa!

Any help would be apprecaited very much!!

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Phil, as long as your employer signs you up to the insurance policy you are covered no matter what visa you are on. I spent almost a year on business visas and was covered on the company's policy, drove, got paid and everything else without my Iqama. The only thing I could not do that I really needed to do was open a bank account.

There are many things that should require an Iqama such as cashing a check or hiring a car but most of the time they will accept your passport in lieu of the Iqama.

The only thing I would check is why you are on a business visa; while some companies use it for your probation period others use it because they cannot get a work visa approved.

haekal 4 years ago

Nice blog, dou you have any idea living in udhailiyah, i got offer to work there for US company with the full package and will stay at aramco udh compound.



LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Haekal.

I have no personal idea about that area. Get yourself onto LinkedIn and find others who will be working for your company in that area and have a chat with them. I hope you enjoy your stay working as an expat in Saudi.

Imran Qamar 4 years ago

Hi leanMan,

I am an Australian Citizen and by birth I am Pakistani. I been in Australia from last 8 years and I have 6 years of experience as a System Engineer (IT). Can you please tell me how Saudi treat peoples like me who have Australian,British, American or Canadian nationality but by birth they are from countries like Pakistan, India or Sri Lanka?

I am thinking to move to Saudia because it will be close to my country and I will save lot of money on airfare that I am spending every year when I travel to my home country Pakistan.But I will not move if there is no peace of mind and job security.

Please advise........


Imran Qamar

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Imran,

I have replied the email you sent me, but just for others; in the workplace you are likely to be treated with reasonable respect in a professional position and should have few if any problems. Saudis are notoriously lazy and unresponsive at work no matter what nationality you are so don't take their behavior personally!

Be careful also regarding job security, there is a large level of unemployment in the Saudi population and they are making things very hard for companies to employ expats for jobs that could be done by local workers. If your company does not offer a work visa from day one they may not be able to get one approved; in which case your job is on very shaky grounds.

PhilSouth profile image

PhilSouth 4 years ago from South Africa


Ramoric 4 years ago

I will be working in al khobar, I have already signed the contract with the company waiting for the working visa.

Is 10500 riyal salary be fine? Can I find a decent dwelling for 3750 riyal/month?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ramoric

Without knowing much about the job it is hard to say if the salary is good or not, although it is more than enough to live in Saudi Arabia. Check out if you want to compare your salary. As to your housing allowance it will not get you a villa on a good compound but it will find you a very nice apartment off compound.

Ramoric 4 years ago

Thanks Leanman. I am an accountant and was hired as asst. manager. Btw, how expensive is the cost of living in khobar? Thanks

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The cost of living in Saudi is not too steep, you can live reasonably on 1000SAR a month if you are not the extravagant type.

Sagar 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I just got an offer from a renowned company from KSA as a Product Manager and offered me 8 K as basic and other allowances extra and I have visited them personally when I was on a business tour from my current company.

They are saying that come on an auto Electrician visa as this is what they have as of now.

Please throw some light on what advantages and disadvantages are there on this visa.

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sagark1987 4 years ago

Hi Lean Man,

I got a offer from a renowned company from Jeddah KSA as a Product Manager and salary is 8K + other allowances. I have met them personally when I visited KSA on a business tour.

Company is having only auto electrician visa as of now and they are saying me to come on that visa.

Kindly suggest the pros and cons on this visa.

Awaiting for your reply.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sargar

When a company in Saudi Arabia brings in an expat employee they have to state what job the person will be doing as the government limits which jobs can be done by non-Saudis and how many non-Saudis each company can employee. It is common practice for a company to employ an expat with a visa other than that for which the company is going to employ them. I have known CEOs on visas such as you are being given.

Sagar Kulkarni 4 years ago

Hi Lean Man,

Thanks for your inputs. So if I go on an auto electrician visa will it not hamper my work what i am going to do over there.

What abt contract?? Is it valid for a certain period of time??

I am been given an offer in Abdul Lateef Jameel. So if you have any experiences please share it with me.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sagar,

You will receive a contract before you are able to apply for your visa. Many companies give you a one or two year contract but these automatically roll on if the company does not formally renew them so don't worry too much.

There are many companies that offer workers visas that are not the same as the work that they are doing, in most cases this causes no problems. It may however hamper movement between companies at a later date if you apply for a job that is very different to the work on your visa. It is allegedly possible to change the job description on your visa but I do not know anyone who has tried to do it.

Just be aware that Saudi is making more jobs Saudi only and restricting employment in many companies to reduce their own internal unemployment so no job in Saudi is as safe as it was.

Zak 4 years ago

Hi there leanman,

I'm going to Riyadh in about two weeks, im going to be working for my friends company. I have been offered a good job and salary, accomodation paid for too. How do i avoid being taxed on my return to the UK?? you have to have a tv license there? im going to take my PS3 so will need to buy a tv at some point...thanks

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Zak, good luck with your job in Riyadh, i am sure you will enjoy your time there. UK tax depends on how many days you have been out of the country for during a tax year; you will have to visit the inland revenue site to get the current number of days that you must be out of the country. Otherwise they will never know anyway!!!!

No TV license in Saudi as no BBC to fund..

Zak 4 years ago

Ah ok that is excellent, thank you for your quick and efficient response.

I developed a liking for cupcakes when i was in Dubai not so long ago....I hope they're as keen in Riyadh for cupcakes as they are in the malls of dubai.

And finally, what good electronic stores are there in riyadh?? I'm going to be living in Olaya district. With regard to my job, I'll be managing manpower at King Abdullah Financial district.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The Saudis LOVE their cakes and sweets so you will find plenty to choose from, just don't go developing diabetes as many of the Saudis do!

There are a number of good electronic shops that you will find easily, there is also an area on Olaya where they sell computers and gadgets, almost like a small market which had many street vendors selling bootleg software last time I was on it, this is easy enough to find as it is on the main road there towards the south.

Enjoy your time there..

Aman 4 years ago

Hello Lean,

Hope everything is going good @ ur end.

I got visa stamped from a saudi company known as Atheeb Intergraph saudi company pvt ltd. The work location is Dammam and the role is .net developer.

They told its a permanent position with them not a contractual.

They are going to pay 10500 SAudi riyal, in which i need to see my expenses of loadging and boarding.

SO is it easy to get a good home for a family in Dammam.

I am married and i 've got a daugter.

Initially they told they 're giving a bussiness visa and then they will give a permanent VISA.

Can i take my family to dammam, after getting the permission. Is it safe.

My wife is working in software in India. Can she get a JOB there in Dammam.

Can we leave peacefully in Dammam.

Your advice is most helpful to me

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Aman

Dammam is one of the more relaxed areas of Saudi to live in and you will be able to find a reasonable apartment for yourself and your family for 15k or less for the whole year.

Wait until you get your work visa and Iqama before you try to bring your family, working on a business visa is not a secure way to be employed as there is no real contract that can be enforced between you and your employer. Many employers will bring you in with a business visa within your trial period or if they are having problems getting work visas which is a common problem with many companies in Saudi at the moment as businesses are being forced to employ more Saudis.

As to you wife getting a job; she would have to be sponsored by her new employer also otherwise she cannot officially work. This means that she would have to follow their rules and I know of several instances where families have been split by employers that decide to move their staff within Saudi or insist that staff live within their accommodation. So be careful who she goes to work for; it would be best if you can work within the same company or if she does freelance work from home.

Good luck and stay in touch.

neeru 4 years ago

Dear Lean man

I am Indian MBA with marketing specialisation.currently Iam working in ICICI bank.

after 2 years i intend to move to KSA,How is the career prospectus in banking sector .

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Neeru

There are still many jobs being advertised within the banking sector so I am sure that you will have little problem in finding a job in Saudi to apply to. Good luck.

neeru 4 years ago

Thank u very very much for your prompt reply.

Wishing you and your family a very happy deewali(famous indian occasion).

Alan 4 years ago

I am a Health & Safety Manager from Liverpool UK.

I worked in Riyadh for El-Seif July 11 to Feb 12. El Seif are a decent company & every Saudi I had dealings with were very nice.

Reason I left was a Scotsman from Dundee who just thought he could change the terms of my contract to suit him & on the job front offered no support at all, this because he was scared of challenging poor performance! A coward! As For life in Riyadh? I enjoyed it!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Alan

Glad you enjoyed working in Saudi Arabia. I also loved working in Riyadh. People don't like change in Saudi, trying to make change happen is very difficult indeed.

Waqas 4 years ago

Hi Leanman ;

I am an electrical engineer, can you please guide what the difference between company visa and azad visa and how can it effect the employers as few ov my senior engineers working in KSA advised me to come on azad visa ..

please explain


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Waqas

If you want to work for a company then that company has to be your sponsor, anything else is illegal. This means that you should come on a work visa sponsored by the company you wish to work for.

The azad visa is where someone will bring you on their sponsorship and allow you to work anywhere you like, you will pay them up to 20k for this visa but the reality is that most companies will not hire you as you will not be able to transfer your sponsorship! If you are found working for a company that is not your sponsor both they and you will be in trouble.

Far easier to find a job and use the official route.

waqas 4 years ago

thanks for your reply bro.

most people in Pakistan don't go through the official route cz they think that one is bond by the company rules and so can't change the company .. secondly if the sponsor is an arab then one can work anywhere and change companies anytime I want .. thirdly if this azad visa got so much trouble, why people prefer it than company visa ? im very confused, please explain ..?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Waqas

The legalities are that you can only work for your sponsor. If you use an azad visa then you will not be able to legally work for another company; this means that you have no rights regarding your employment should a company "employ" you. If they don't pay you there is no where for you to complain or get your entitlement. I know a hospital in Jeddah that regularly employs "freelancers" and will then fail to pay them for 3 months before telling them that their services are not required.

An azad visa does not allow you to legally work for any company and change jobs whenever you like, it only gets you into Saudi Arabia so that you can work for those companies that hire illegals.

There is zero protection for you, and no reason for the company to pay the going rate for the job that you are doing as they know you are working illegally. If you are caught you will be on your way home and the company will be in trouble also plus your sponsor who will probably claim you are a runaway.

The authorities in Saudi are trying very hard to ensure that more Saudis are employed and that means more and more checks and approvals for companies. This means companies are running bigger and bigger risks by employing expats who have no entitlement for work.

Of course if all you want to do is work as a driver or as a shelf stacker in the supermarket then feel free to do so, but if you have good qualifications and are looking for a well paid professional post do it through the right channels.

It is up to you if you take the risk..

waqas 4 years ago

thanks a lot for your reply ...:)

na-na 4 years ago


Thanks for the post.

I'm currently in my final year of my PhD -IT. I'm wondering of it is easy to get a teaching job (lecturer)? I had 3 years working experience in the industry and only 1 semester as a tutor (while I'm doing my PhD).

I am a single female, so I plan to go there by myself. Is it ok to do so? Is there any restriction?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Na-na

There are many teaching positions available and I am sure once you have passed your PhD that you will not have any problems landing a position in Saudi Arabia.

There are many restrictions on women working within Saudi Arabia; you will find links to various pages about women working in Saudi Arabia in the article above - blue text box below the picture of the woman belly dancing. If you have any more questions after reading feel free to contact me.

NA-na 4 years ago

Thanks for the reply. Really appreciate it! I've read the page on Saudi women. Few questions:

Do they offer a job to a single woman? I dont plan to get married (or getting married in Saudi!)....would it be possible for me to come and work there without any relatives?

From what you have written, I guess it is pretty scary walking around all by myslef even in public places. Basically, if what i do everyday is go to work and go back home, that would be pretty safe is it?

Lastly, the fact that women are not allowed to drive and they need to call a cab. The cab driver would obviously be a man, and therefore, going to one place to another would means being in a car with another guy (the driver)...would that be safe? I'm just thinking that if I get a job and I need transportation to work, I'm not sure if I would feel comfortable being in that situation after reading what you have written about the way they treated women.

Sorry for the long questions. I'm very interested to work there, so I'm trying hard to imagine how the life would be over there!

Thanks a lot...cheers!

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Na-na

Yes you can work in Saudi as a single woman, you should not have too many problems with that, especially if you are looking for a teaching job.

You will find that most companies will provide you with a place to live either on a compound or within some sort of shared accommodation depending on the employer. If you are on compound then it will be like living in a small holiday camp, shared accommodation however can vary from real dives to some nice villas.

Your employer is likely to provide you with transport from home to work and back, you will probably be able to use that same transport to go and visit malls etc during your free time. You will soon pick up what you can and shouldn't do, I am sure that the other women that you will work with will give you lots of advice. It is a very strange place to work as a woman and even as a guy!

Good luck.. you can contact me direct through my profile page if you need to..

neeru 4 years ago

Hi leanMan

This is my second question about banking sector

after exploring the internet,i came to know that host country nationals are being preferred for banking job.

so for an Indian it is impossible to get a job in i would be in sales.

and plzz post yout tweeter link also.

Santiago 4 years ago

Hi lean man, fantastic information, many thanks.

I've been looking for a job in Saudi for a few months now and have been offered a contract similar to a UK contractor. For example it's only a day rate plus a return ticket. Nothing else is offered such as medical, housing etc. Is that normal?

can you also advise how I boost my chances if finding a role? I have found the job search very slow.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Neeru

They are making more and more jobs available only to Saudis in an effort to reduce unemployment of Saudis. You will still be able to find banking jobs but not generally within the jobs that are restricted. Companies with a good status regarding the employment of Saudis can employ expats for any position even restricted positions.

You will find my twitter link top right on my profile page.

neeru 4 years ago

thank you leanMan

Jan 4 years ago

Hey LeanMan. Wondered if you could shed any light on the visa block ... read a few blogs and heard from husband (who is an expat worker in Kingdom) that there is currently a block on visas. We are both from UK, both non Muslim. I am in the third month of waiting for a cable number. No info as to progress (or even rejection) is available. Is ever so slightly frustrating! Any advice as to a way forward? Kind regards. Jan

neeru 4 years ago

LeanMan this is my last question

So in your knowledge sales job is restricted one in banking for foreign nationals Or not.

Mohammad ikram liaqat 4 years ago

hi my edu is B.A & i have SAFETY iNSPECTOR trining form DESCONE .i want visa tell me about company for SBM job.thanks.00923458143105

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Jan

Working with Saudis can be frustrating at times as they can often be very slow at getting anything done even if you see it as vitally important. All you can do unfortunately is wait and keep pestering them.

There is no general block on visas; however if the company that has offered you a position has not employed enough Saudis then they will not be allowed to gain any additional visas, unfortunately there is no easy way to check the companies status until you have a visa number.

My advice would be to start applying to other companies rather than just waiting for this one; you may find a better job while you wait.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Neeru

I don't personally keep track of every job job description that is restricted within every industry in Saudi. If you search job sites and you see jobs advertised for expats then the position is available to you and you can apply. Some companies will bring you in for a restricted position and tell the authorities that you are working in another and those companies that have met all requirements for employing Saudis can employ expats even in restricted jobs.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Santiago

It sounds like you have been offered exactly what you describe, a short term contract rather than a full time job. You should ask them to clarify what they are offering and ask also about accommodation etc. Companies that are having problems getting work visas do sometimes bring in "contractors" on a business visa but this does not really offer you much in the way of job security as you are not officially "employed" by the company but working for or with them as a contractor. That being said, once you are in the kingdom networking is much easier and you stand a much better chance of landing a better job.

Santiago 4 years ago

Thanks for your reply

Nothing else is offered. It is a 6 month contract which I have been told will be extended for another 6 months. No accommodation, medical etc.

I have a young family and will look to bring them over after a month or so. Ive been told I have to arrange everything myself to sponsor them to come over

Once I'm in ksa, is it easier to transfer to another job once my contact ends?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Santiago

I assume that you will be working on a business visa so you can work for another company no problem once you finish with this one.

However if you are not on a work visa and do not have an Iqama you will find it next to impossible to bring your family. If you are going to be on a work visa then the company is responsible for finding you accommodation and must provide health cover, you also may find issues when wanting to transfer employment.

Make sure that you have medical cover! Accommodation is usually easy to find. You can find small furnished apartments rather than hotels which will set you back anywhere from 100-200+ riyals per night depending on where you are in the country.

You are from the UK so you will want compound accommodation for your family. This can cost you anywhere from 70kRiyals per year upwards for something basic. There are often waiting lists in place and it is hard to find vacancies - I surveyed every compound in Jeddah a few years ago and found only 2 vacancies in the entire city. I would not bring a wife and children from the UK to live off compound, the culture is just too alien!

If you need to discuss stuff in more depth you can contact me directly through the profile page - top right..

Neeru 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan

Plzz suggest me

i got an offer from RAK Bank -dubai.In hand i would get 5000AED.It includes all expenses.

Should i accept this offer Or not

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Neeru

Not knowing the position or your specific needs it would be very difficult for me to provide you with advice. Only you can know if this is enough for your needs. You can check salaries for different positions in the middle east through

Good luck in your decision.

neeru 4 years ago

ok LeanMan----- but i need your suggestion on one point

i got the offer from euro arab marketing management L.L.C to work in RAK bank.So through this L.L.C I got a chance to work in RAK Bank.

So by accepting the offer from this outsourcing company it would be beneficial for my career growth in middle east.

I am totally confused.PLZZ guide me

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

The job offer is for an outsourcing company rather than direct with the bank, however if you still get to work within the role that you want that will still be fine for your CV/resume and your career progression. You may even find other work within the same company if you do a good job.

The decision is still very much your own as this is your future and it is you who has to plan your future.

Good luck, I wish you all the best.

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lakota22 4 years ago

Hi Leanman, Thanks for your excellent, informative and thorough account of your experiences and views. Would you happen to be at all familiar with SRACO Company, founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dammam? They're seeking 131 (so many..?) English instructors. One concern regards having to possibly live for a time on an oil platform; another concern is about whether I would be paid for my work. The salary posted is quite high. Thanks very much indeed for any suggestions!

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I do not know the company personally but they appear to have been around for some time and have involvement in many different industries. You could look for them on LinkedIn and try to contact some of your fellow countrymen that work for them directly for information about the company.

Most people do not experience payment problems with large established companies, it is usually the smaller companies and individuals that give problems to their employees. Wages in Saudi are usually much higher than elsewhere so do not be surprised.

Marc 4 years ago

Hi, I am a Dutch guy from Amsterdam, a regular but not heavy pot user. I am curious about different cultures. I accepted to go to Jeddah in a bit less than a month on a mission for my work during a week trip, despite all the restrictions (drugs, alcohol, not even thinking of looking at a woman): One week of that is nothing compared to the cultural experience, and I'll be pretty excited to be there anyway.

THC (the active in pot), stays in the blood and urine for quite a while, so I placed my stuff in a cupboard not to be touched until I come back. However there probably will still be traces in my blood/urine. I am afraid of random testing at the airport and that this interesting business experience ends up in a long jail sentence. Should i reconsider my decision, or is this all just a myth (i tend to believe the latter)?

Marc 4 years ago

Oh, and another much less heavy question: I smoke roll up additive free tobacco.

I lived in Asia in the past: my local friends were amused by it because it looked like drugs. Should I avoid roll ups in Saudi, and use these disgusting industrial ciggies to get my nicotine fix?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Marc,

Certainly do not try to take any pot with you!!

That being said, most of my Saudi friends smoked the stuff so if they started to randomly test at the airport they would arrest half their own population!

There is no random drug testing at the airport so you will be fine.

As to using tobacco, I can't say I noticed anyone ever using it as cigarettes are very cheap there, my friends that used tobacco to mix with their other products would have to split open cigarettes. you could also try the "hubbly bubbly" pipes in the various cafes if you want to smoke something a little milder and different.

Marc 3 years ago

Thank you LeanMan you for your re-assuring answer. I actually can't wait to visit that other planet (I am very culture curious even if I know I will have to remain cautious with my interactions and my behaviour). I might even extend a little my stay a few days more than my work duties for tourism...

I meant for the tobacco that I do not smoke industrial cigarettes due to the additives, besides I can't stand them. I actually smoke roll ups by choice not for any other reason... Because of the aspect of roll up tobacco, I was wondering if that could not get me into trouble...

Marc 3 years ago

Something else I just realised... I follow a medical treatement consisting in applying a gel on my shoulders (not really drinkable!). I must take it everyday for life. I just checked its composition, there is ethanol (Alcohol) in it... Will a paper from my doctor be suffiscient or should I seek another solution?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again Marc,

It would be best not to make roll ups in public for those reasons, you may find yourself with some unwanted attention and they are as likely to arrest first and ask questions much later!

As to your gel, do not bring it, find an alternative; even things like mouthwash and so on in Saudi are produced in alcohol free versions. There really is no alcohol on sale legally in any form - although you can get as much of the drinking stuff as you need if you know the right people; they are very hypocritical when it comes to booze!

Siva 3 years ago

Dear Mr.Leanman,

I came to KSA on Dec’12. I’m working as a Mechanical Engineer in a private company. Before some days I got a call from my friend who was selected along with me and staying in India(waiting for visa). He told his job contract was revised from 8k to 6k. When he contacted the company they told “this is not only for you. First we’ll revise the contract for the people those who didn’t came here. After that we’ll revise it for the people those who are all joined/working here.If you want sign it otherwise leave it”.

My question: Is it possible to revise/deduct the salary which they mentioned in contract after they joined? If it happens what legal steps I have to take? Please advise us. We’re more than 40 nos. of people. Your reply is valuable to us.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Siva,

They cannot legally change your contract without your approval and signature. However if you sign it you accept it! If they try to force you to accept it and refuse to pay your contracted wage you can take them to the Saudi labor court. Do a search online and you will be able to find a copy of the Saudi Labor Law.

pooja 3 years ago

Hi I am pooja... my husband has got a job in Al khobar in a company named Electronia in Hussain building... He has been offered SR 16,000 per month... is this a good salary over there??? The experience which I read in your blog is actually telling me that my husband should not take this job... need your advice

arief 3 years ago

Good day LEAN MAN

This is mohammed arief from INDIA, I got job offer from GALVANCO RIYADH as mechanical engineer through a consultant based in MUMBAI INDIA, The company is offering SR 3500, I would like to know how the company work & timing in SAUDI for the people who works under SAUDI LABOUR LAW, Im a graduate engineer B.TECH MECHANICAL , The company said they are going to provide me TECHNICIAN VISA, but the work will be related to ur degree, & moreover company is going to provide me accomdation & food, Im interested to go SAUDI bcozz i need to earn money for my family . I had a contract with them for 2 years. I have to leave INDIA in one week bcoz my VISA already dispachted from SAUDI....

1. I would like to know how i can be treated thee

2. working timings

3. Can i get part time job to work there

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Pooja

The only reason that anyone goes to Saudi Arabia is to earn money, something which can be done very easily in this country. Not knowing the job your husband has taken or what nationality you are it is hard to say if the salary is appropriate but it is a reasonable salary.

If your husband is coming to work there and not to break any of the rules then he will be fine, there are many expats working for companies in Saudi Arabia and I am sure that your husband will be fine.

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Arief,

You can find answers to all of your questions by following the various links in the sections above which will lead you to many different subjects. You can also download a full copy of the Saudi Labor Law if you do a quick search for it online.

You cannot work part time officially as you should only work for your sponsor, that being said many people do find additional employment there.

badshah 3 years ago

Good day Leanman,

I want to now what kind of forums and platforms are available for expats especially the Indians as the Indian Embassy is not strong enough what i see till now.U just give the proper website or any link so that i can get the proper answer for my problem which i am facing now.

Kindly,look into it waiting for your positive response..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Badshah,

I only really use facebook and linkedin to keep track of what is going socially. I am sure that there are many other forums and websites that you could go to whatever your problem may be. Feel free to post your Saudi issue here if you need some advice.

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aimpower 3 years ago

Hi Leanman!As I have read the comments, I know that this will help me a lot from my worries. My husband just arrived a few weeks in Dammam Saudi, Arabia.We are both Filipino, you said that they are very strict in checking your permits if you are Filipino in nationality. My husband seems to enjoy his work there which is owned by an Arab National thru an agency here in the Philippines, believing that he will survive his stay for two year contract, but He admitted to me last night that his having worries and something bad might happened to him because of his tattoo. He passed the medical exams and nothing to worry about it, the only thing that frightens him is that people around him told him that if Motawa saw his tattoo, they will put him in jail with no question asked and that bothering him right now.But his employer saw his tattoo and reminded him to cover it whn he goes in Saudi.

Do we have reason to be frighten if he does nothing wrong?

And another issue, his work designation should be as trailer driver, but now he becomes an asphalt machine operator because Pinoys working there for 20 years need someone to train before the company gives them a vacation and my husband, being young, fast learner and has a good built has an eye for him. Is this a common scenario?

Does he have an authority to complain to his employer or just accept the work as long as the salary is still based on his contract.

Please help me resolve this issues..Thank you so much.You have been a big help!

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi aimpower

Don't worry too much about the tattoo, but do try to keep it covered up in Saudi and don't make a big deal of it, I know Saudis that have tattoos although they are frowned upon! It is unlikely that he will get arrested just for that, as long as he follows all of their rules and stays out of trouble he will be fine. Many Filipinos go there and spend many years without any problems.

It is not uncommon for people to be asked to do work other than for what they have been hired for; if your husband is happy with the work and is being paid correctly then it is very much a personal decision. That being said it would be pretty difficult for him to say no and refuse to work!

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Alimjan Abla 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I am very happy to join this conversation. I am about to start a PhD in Petroleum geology in King fahid University of petroleum and minerals. Could you please tell me the situation of fresh graduates ( non-saudi) in Sadui Arabia? Is it possible to take academic positions in colleges after PhD graduation? or they only hire people with western degree? Please give some suggestions, Thank you.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Alimjan,

Not being an academic and moving in those circles I cannot really answer your question, That being said I often get emails from fresh graduates who are asking whether they should take teaching positions etc so I would guess that they are often employed there in Saudi Arabia.

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Alimjan Abla 3 years ago

Thank you very much LeanMan...

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Unnik420 3 years ago

I would like to sincerely share my bad experience with one of the Manpower Company in Saudi Arabia Eastern Province by name Mohammed Al Zoabi Corp. (MAZCO). This company exploits its employees by delay in payment of salary, Provide cheap airline ticket with multiple transits points instead of providing direct flight ticket, vacation schedule problem, delay / hold in paying vacation amount, not paying End of Service benefits, etc. So I advise all my friends who are seeking job in this company to think again before taking final decision.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Unnik, sorry you have had such a bad experience working within Saudi Arabia. I know that many companies do not treat their employees well but also there are many that do. You should always try to do your homework on any company before you work there.

Contact other employees through linkedIn and facebook or other social media and look for reviews and comments by searching the web. In today's internet age it is simple to research a company before you accept a job.

Cat 3 years ago

Hello LeanMan

I am considering to work in KSA (Jeddah) and I am seeking for employment. However, as you know its very hard to find work as a sinlge European woman; nevertheless, I would like to ask if you have any advice where I could apply or rather which companies employ women. At the moment I am finishing my Masters in Oxford (Business Management), previously I did my Bachelors in International Management in Germany, I am multilingual (German, English, Italian, Spanish) and think that my broad theoretical background might be from advanatge for finding a job. However, it is very difficult to find comanpies in Jeddah employing women, so I hope that you might be able to help me. Kind regards.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cat,

Most European women from overseas get employed in teaching positions or medical positions. Unless you have skills that no other man has you are going to find it next to impossible to find employment in Saudi. They will prefer to employ men and would only consider a woman if there are NO male applicants with the required skills, and even then they may just continue looking.

For a business management position there will likely be many men available so they would be very unlikely to employ a woman with all of the issues that will be involved.

That being said, you never know, apply through all of the usual websites and see what you can find.

Good Luck, let us know how you get on.

Bandar 3 years ago

I think this man who wrote the article is a looser layer. If Saudi is not a good place for you why you are still here? We have met many western people who are thankful to Saudi Arabia and not like you. And to your information we are not lazy worker and many expats form western countries are so stupid and I am wondering how they got a qualification degree. Don't misguide the people by telling lies on Saudi society. There are negative things I agree but when compared to UK it is nothing to mention. Go back to your home country and taste happiness in paying taxes and insurance and counting your bills every month.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bandar, I love working in Saudi Arabia; I love the money, I love not paying tax, and I love the fact that there are so many jobs available as most companies cannot find a reliable hard working Saudi to fill the post. Yes there are some hard working and very nice Saudis, but I am very sorry to say that the majority are far from hard working!

I think that maybe instead of justifying their behavior and allowing it maybe you should do something about it and make your society better for everyone instead of calling the people that you invite there to help you "stupid"!;

Richard 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan! I just would like to obtain your opinion relative to my salary offer. Im offered a SR5000 +transportation and accomodation as an accountant for a construction company in al khobar. Is this rate fair? Im from Philippines.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Richard,

I know people that are paid more and also people that are paid less. You have to ask yourself if it is enough for you. It would be a great salary for you back home in the Philippines and if you are sensible you will save well and invest your money back home.

Once you are in Saudi you have the chance to look for promotion and pay rises within the company you are in as well as look around at other companies; the important thing is to get that initial position to get there.

Saleem 3 years ago

hayyyy,go to hell and let saudia for saudis,,,,you are growup here and your shoulder become very fat from this country bounties,,,What you think yourself??? are you qualified to talk about Saudi Arabia??? i dont think so.You need 1000 then you talk about KSA .....thats reality we are life in 2013 and the degenerates talk about KSA

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Saleem,

I am sure Saudi Arabia would do fine if all of the expats got up and left it to the Saudis... I can just imagine how things would be with no drivers, maids, laborers or anyone else to do any work.

The oil will not last for ever, at least your king is trying to build economic cities to secure your future but I don't see many Saudi's working hard to make successful Saudi companies to locate there.

syed 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

My cousin working in Saudi Arabia for Limited Company as a QC Inspector from last six months he didn’t get single month salary. When my cousin asked for transfer or exit they are not willing to give & asking 6000 SR for his passport in this case what should he do please advise. He is from India.

Thanks and regards.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Syed,

Tell your cousin to contact his embassy for help. If he is working legally he can raise a case through the Saudi Labor Court and he will eventually win his back pay and get his passport returned but this can be a lengthy process.

Syed 3 years ago


saleem 3 years ago

bing bam boom,,,,,yes i am forgot lean if you go out to your kingdom all the people here in KSA will Die HHHHHHHHH,,,,,,,,i am sure if i meet you at Dammam i will marry you first then i will shoot you like insect

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Saleem, have you thought about professional help? Maybe a good psychiatrist may be able to help.

Sri 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan

I was reading all blogs from past 2hrs :) I am having question as I am Indian and IT professional with 15years worked across Glob except middle east, It was never in list or tried. I don't know what god and fiat decided, I got offer in Saudi on condition that I will stay in Bahrain. I had been offered around 10,000USD per month all inclusive, Now my question is how professional are treated at work place? Because I had never faced any issue either in europr, USA or Asia? Is there any dress code to follow?

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sri,

Dress code in the work place is generally specific to a company, however within Saudi Arabia is is important to dress conservatively and respectfully. So shorts should be knee length when in public and t-shirts should not be of the sleeveless variety.

You should be treated reasonably well within the workplace as your position is a professional one, just be aware however that many Saudis will treat you poorly in public as most Indians are seen as third class citizens by the bulk of the population and they will not ask to see your resume before they decide how to treat you.

manohar 3 years ago

hii i jst got job visa in saudhi from riyadh pharma how is the place riyadh and what precautions i should take going to work in ksa

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Manohar,

Congratulations on your job offer, I hope everything goes smoothly for you. If you follow this link to one of my hubs it contains an overview of everything you need to know about working in Saudi Arabia as well as links to more detail for each subject area;

NoNickName 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing. And let me assure you that you have been treated much better than other people from third world nations


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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi, thanks for spending the time to read and make comment. Yes I am very aware that people from third world nations are treated very badly when working for companies in Saudi Arabia. I have seen the treatment with my own eyes, it is very hard at times not to get involved!

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AG23 3 years ago from Bangalore, India


I have a offer as civil engineer based in riyadh for a company dar al riyadh. Can i get sme reviews abt the company and tips on likfe in riyadh. I m frm maharashtra, india.



LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi AG23,

The following hub will give you the bulk of the info that you need as well as providing links to all of the other hubs in this series so you can get in depth information about working as an expat in Saudi Arabia.

DawnBreaker 3 years ago


Just got an offer to work as contractor for Aramco but employer will be Jal International. As not direct through Aramco, will need to find housing. Any idea how much housing cost in Abqaiq (Biqayq)? The contract includes basic salary + 40% for accomodation, food, family status, 3 holiday flight tickets but no car/transport. I guess I need to buy a car once over there. Anything else can you think of need to be stipulated in the contract? many thanks

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi DawnBreaker,

Housing costs in Saudi can vary considerably depending on what you are looking for; you can find a "room" for less than 1000 riyals a month, a basic apartment for less than 10k per year or a luxury one for 40k per year. These will be off compound. If you want a place on a compound then prices can be as little as 40k to as much as 200k for a villa, and availability is usual very tight. This will help

Cars can be bought fairly cheaply and rental is also fairly inexpensive.

girdhari singh 3 years ago


I got a call from saudia arebia paint industry for job as chemist. But there is a intermidiate from hedrabad india between me and that company. What type of precaution should i take before giving approval of that job.?

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Girdhari,

Just remember that the company that is going to employ you is responsible for all of your recruitment costs etc. So the intermediate should not be asking for you to pay anything - if they are beware!

Ahmed 3 years ago

Good article,

After reading the article, I went through some of the comments, and I have to say as a Saudi national, I agree (not completely). Granted, lots of Saudis are lazy workers, and the some have crazy expectations (Overnight managers), which is sad. Having studied, and worked in UK for the past 6 years, after returning the working environment was different than what I have expected. A lot of companies will pay you well, and will give you good money if you're a foreigner, and if you're a Saudi you will get probably half the pay. Granted, as you said, most Saudis won't work, but at the same time there are some gems, and those gems are lost in because of that.

I have been working for a company that by far gives little to none wages, and the "Canadian" GM earns SR55,000 doing absolutely nothing. Other than delegating all his tasks to his Saudi secretary.

We do have women in my company, and they do have their own space, but they also share our working space (have in mind this is a 100% Saudi Company). Either way, working for a multinational company is a lot different than working for a company that is based in just one country, and that I believe is a general thing that won't change no matter what country you work for.

Eventually, if you're planning to work in Saudi try and choose an International corporation, or a Bank, other than that you won't get paid as much.

I have to say felt some anger, which I couldn't help due to the fact you're talking about my country, but at the same time it's not that I had to keep in mind that most of it (even though a bit harsh) was true. Keep in mind a lot have changed since when you wrote it.

Thank you for the article.

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LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Ahmed,

Thank you for taking the time to comment about working for companies in Saudi and about the Saudi work ethic. Yes there are some really nice, hard working and effective Saudis out there, just the same as there are some work shy, incompetent westerners. But unfortunately if you go into almost any company you will find that the majority of the Saudis are very much as I have described them above.

There are problems that need to be addressed in Saudi and unless people recognize them and "accept" them they will never be corrected.

Marghoob Ahmed 2 years ago

Guys .... I have to join a Saudi company in coming month...but after reding above I'm confused ..... Should I come to KSA or not?

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Marghoob,

It all depends on your motivation and reasons for working for a company in Saudi Arabia. If you are coming for the money and you have been offered a well paying position then go. But if you are looking for somewhere where you are going to always be treated with respect and valued then maybe it is not such a good idea.

Many people actually enjoy working in Saudi Arabia, I do! But others find it just too much stress.

Lyn 2 years ago

Hi Leanman, let me commend you for your great hub, very informative and helpful. Keep it up! Just have a couple of questions. I recently got hired at Security Forces Hospital in Makkah, still on the process of my deployment. I read in my offer letter that my contract status is International Type B (S), do you have any idea what does it mean? does it have any privilege? Thanks and hoping to hear from you. JazakaAllah khair!

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Lyn,

Not sure what contract status is, it maybe something relating to your employer rather than an "official" status used by the authorities. However if anyone knows different I am sure they will leave a comment here.

tinnu 2 years ago

I am PhD in marketing with 15 years of expe.Have a job offer from Dammam uni @10000/-.Want to know about the quality of life for me as an academoician.Do you suggest me go there?

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Tinnu

It really has to be your own decision if you want to go to Saudi Arabia. Most people choose to go purely for the money and if the salary is right for you then why not?

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bill kramer 2 years ago

Someone have offert me a short term consulting

assignment of 6 month for about 15k USD/month incl. housing, medical etc. Is that reasonable and where can I find accommodation for such a short time? Thanks!

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bill,

Only you can decide if the salary is sufficient. Just be aware that every countries rules are different as to what can be claimed as tax free income and it will normally depend on the amount of time spent overseas during the tax year.

As to short term accommodation, depending on what you are looking for you can find cheap hotels or even a short term apartment on some of the compounds. Ask your employer as to what is available where you will work.

Hannes 2 years ago

Hi, I got offereda job as a Paramedic, Afras based in Riyadh, at King Khaled International Airport, Saudi Arabia for $4800, do you think it is reasonable, what are the general salaries? And what is the cost of living in SaudiArabia? Thank you

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Hannes,

You can check salaries through for similar positions across the middle east. Cost of living is relatively low. At the end of the day you have to decide if the offer is enough for you.

Abdul Syed Faisal 2 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

I wish you are doing fine. I am currently working in Saudi Arabia. I wanted to work in Europe that coming from here. Is it hard to transfer to Europe starting from here? I am in the finance industry by the way.. May you help?

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

HI Abdul,

Just start searching for jobs online and start applying. I am sure you will have as much chance as anyone else.

yogendra singh bisht 2 years ago

Lean man abdhul who is that parsan you can half mi

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Yogendra, you left another comment about working as an expat in Saudi Arabia but it did not make sense in English.. Feel free to try again.

uma 2 years ago

Hi .. I studed Every inch and centimeter of entire hubs on Saudi.. and it is very informative and eye opening.. After going through i feel like withdraw the offer .. By the way may i know about Jal international limited.. i will be obliged if you can help me with this piece of information.. though i found it average in my Google study.. Thanks..


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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Uma,

I am glad that my Hubs on Saudi Arabia have been of help. However I know nothing about the company Jai international limited, try searching on LinkedIn as this is often a good source of information and may even introduce you to people who work there.

Kenneth 2 years ago

this is worth reading. Thank you for the good info.

waseem 2 years ago

hi, i got job in saudi aramco with contractor arabian fal. the Arabian Fal is a good company or not.they are giving 3000+300(food),free accomidation,transport.can saudi aramco give permenent job after getting please tell about Arabian Fal company.

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Waseem, I do not know the company that you are referring to. The best thing is to look them up online and see if you can kink with your countrymen that work with them through LinkedIn or even Facebook.

Shuvendu Dasgupta 2 years ago


I am Indian & got a job in KSA in the company named Rowad al jazeera 4000/months+ others facilities for 2 years contract. Is this suitable? Please guide.

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Shuvendu, thank you for reading.

As to answering your question; only you can decide if what you have been offered is enough for you and if it is a good job. I do not know the company but if you search on LinkedIn or even Facebook you may find others that work for the company that you can talk with.

AV 2 years ago

This is very useful.

AWAIS 2 years ago


I have done Masters degree in IT/Networks and looking forward to come to saudia on paid Visa for a Job...What do you suggest ..As a fresh graduate (1 year experience)..would I be able to get Job related to my profession..

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Awais

I have also replied to the email that you sent to me but I will repeat much of what I told you here;

When you work legally in Saudi Arabia you can only work for your sponsor; the person that requested the visa for you. If you are working for anyone else then you are illegal and can be deported as well as having no protection through Saudi labor law.

Many people enter Saudi Arabia on an "Azad" or paid visa - these are just visas being sold by people in Saudi Arabia - they apply for a visa for a driver or menial laborer and then sell that visa to allow someone to come to the country and work in the labor black market.

While some people will come, find work, and then transfer sponsorship many find that they cannot. Some sponsors refuse to allow you to transfer as they can force you to keep paying them so that you can stay in Saudi Arabia.

Many companies will also not hire people without valid sponsorship, or if they do they hire on reduced wages and there are no guarantees of being paid or any other benefits.

While you may be lucky and find work and not be caught it is far better to use the normal channels.

As an IT graduate you should have no problems finding a job on one of the many websites that service the middle east and Saudi such as Employment through one of these sites will be legal plus the sponsor/employer will pay your visa and also your flights so it will not cost you anything.

Horacio 2 years ago

Hi Tony,

Very good your post (I followed him closely and you talk seriously about the reality of the Saudis workers)

I laughed a lot with this phrase "Trying to get a Saudi to do some work is like asking your teenager to clean their room"

I'm trying to take a job in the middle east, after I can comment also about these events.

Thanks for your post Tony

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for reading Horatio and good luck with finding a job in Saudi or elsewhere in the Middle East. I am sure that you will enjoy working there.

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kbr1971 2 years ago

Hi Sir,

I have an offer fromTamimi Markets (Safeway) for "Store Manager" role. I have been offered single status, 12500 sar per month , fully furnished house, car with fuel and maintenance, 30 days paid leave with return airfare and an option of taking a leave additional one time in a year.

I am undergraduate and have been considered for this role purely on experience.

Please help in understanding

- what level of visa will be issued to me? I had asked them to give me a family status and Mudir Visa but they have declined the same stating my non graduation. They are mentioning a Supervisor Visa

- what is Supervisor visa?

- does it allow my family to visit me?

- Does it allow multiple entry / exit

Thanks in advance.

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author


You will almost certainly provided with a "work visa"with the job title of "supervisor" going by what you are saying. Your visa will be converted into an Iqama within 3 months which is your residency. Your sponsor (employer) will hold your passport and you will require an exit-reentry visa to leave which is issued by your sponsor. You cannot leave without their permission and you are not allowed to hold your own passport - so be aware that if you have bad relations with your employer you could have problems.

As to family once you have your Iqama you can apply for your family to join you, however if you are being told "single status" then your sponsor will not be going to help you with the expense of bringing your family.

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kbr1971 2 years ago

Thanks for reverting Sir.

Apart from the Supervisor what are the other class of VISA? As they want me to join within 60 days time they are suggesting to go for a Labour Visa. What may be the cons? They have given me a Offer Letter (pdf attachment) . Can they revise the same while signing up the contract at KSA?? They have mentioned the Salaries will be credited thru a Bank account.

Would have any feedback regarding TAMIMI Markets as an employer or Organization??

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author


Supervisor is your job description which will be indicated on your visa. It is very common that the job description will be different to the actual position that you take. You actual visa is a "work visa" or "labor visa" which is the proper visa for employment within Saudi Arabia. If you are happy with the offer letter then you should be fine; note however that Saudi labor law takes precedence over any contract if the contract offers less protection than the law there.

Take a look at my hub on Visas if you would like more information about Saudi Arabian Visas;

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kbr1971 2 years ago

Thank you very much for the response

Few more questions

- Is the profession mentioned on IQAMA dependent on type of VISA?

- If the VISA allotted is "LABOUR VISA" will it hinder the Profession / Designation to be mentioned as "STORE MANAGER" / "MANAGER" on IQAMA?

- Does the Employer / Organization have the authority / power to show my Profession/Designation as "MANAGER" or is it upto the SAUDI EMBASSY

My understanding is as below

- If the VISA is LABOUR VISA then the Profession / Designation correction in IQAMA will be difficult as it will be against verification / certifications of Graduation or Diploma . As I am a non graduate , more precisely I have completed 12 years of schooling attended college but not completed the course hence I don't have any Certificates for verification / attestation by SAUDI Embassy or HRD at my country. My employer is aware of Education background , has considered my profile and offered me the role purely based on my Experience.

- If the VISA TYPE and PROFESSION/Designation on IQAMA doesn't match then I can get troubled / harassed / detained by the local police and deported back to my country.

Please advise if my understanding is correct .

Looking forward to clear my doubts 100% before going forward with the VISA Processing to avoid any kind of inconvenience to self as the ORGANIZATION once I land up at Riyadh.

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LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi again KBR,

The company has to apply for your visa and it is allocated against a specific job role, in this case "supervisor". That is the job that will be mentioned on your Iqama when it is issued.

Job titles can be changed, however if the company is not allowed to hire for the new job title they will not be allowed to change the title on the paperwork. The reality is that it will have little or no impact on your job or how you are treated in Saudi. I have never had a job title on my Iqama or visas that has ever matched the job that I was employed in. I would not worry about it as long as it does not just say laborer or driver; supervisor is fine.

Police will only ever want to know that you have a valid Iqama, they will never get involved in checking your employment conditions and contracts to see that everything matches. It will not be an issue to you where you are working.

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kbr1971 2 years ago

Thank you very much for you patience. Really appreciate your willingness to help people with your advice, knowledge and experience.

Thanks to people like you, there is a lot of clarity with which people like me can travel to SAUDI for working.

God Bless and best wishes on all your Endeavors. : -)

Warda 24 months ago

Well, you face the bad situation but this is not the majority. I'm a Saudi woman and I work. I've never been enslaved to money. I work to help my people. help people and I do my work. I've never played play station at my office! !! Well this is a bad image !!

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LeanMan 24 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Warda; I have generally found Saudi women far more responsible when it comes to work. Unfortunately this view of Saudi work ethics is shared by almost all expats that I know.

Tom 23 months ago

I have been offered a contract with a Saudi company. The contract states that when once my contract is over I can't work for a competitor for 2 years. Is that normal and is it legal ?

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LeanMan 23 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tom

That is a clause that you will see in many contracts in many countries to protect a companies intellectual property. However it is a clause that is often hard to implement for an employer and many people ignore it. However please note that it could be enforced but it is unlikely.

Tony 22 months ago

I am offered a Security Manager position with a Saudi Arabian Company. I was asked to write up a proposed package but I am not aware of what type of package I should expect. I was told that I will be given accommodations on the compound (was told compound is a 5 star) and given a car also. I will be working for 11 months and be given a round trip ticket back home for 30 days paid vacation. I was also told during the interview that I will be given a bonus at the end of my completed year. I have worked in Iraq for over 7 yrs as a SM for $500 a day. What would be your suggested package I should advise the company?

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LeanMan 22 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tony

You can find salary information for different roles within Saudi Arabia on Bayt dot com. However you should just write what you really think you should be paid. If you are looking to maintain that $500 a day rate then request that as your wage but give it as a monthly rate so as to avoid any confusion. Most management roles do come with all of the usual car, compound accommodation, health care, holidays, paid tickets and bonuses at the end of your contract. Good luck with your negotiations and I hope that you enjoy your time there in Saudi.

jeygi gideon 21 months ago

very interesting article.. i've seen extreme laziness of saudi employees in our company, abuses to us expats. some of my colleagues cried literally. We felt exploited, abused in some ways, but the key is observe, be patient and learn to say sweet words. I initially worked as site engineer to random distant substations, but due to manpower exploitation and HR's poor performances on safety issues, I found chance and switched position and take advantage of office work, managing contractor autocad drawings, and observing office politics. On few occassion I seen some of my older colleagues envying my work status and role, and my salary. I worked less and had more salary than them, and i am more of a rookie. What strikes them more is that our manager and my colleauges are of one nationality, yet i found my natural position and screwed them. Though as much as the rest of my colleauges I too experience the bad on occassion and had odds that are against me, but friendliness can go a long way. Just be vigilant, patient, and friendly. Dont fight with authorities. Just be watchful. I am a Filipino Engineer

A, S, Shaikh 21 months ago

Dear Leanman,

Your article is very realistic, and you surely have the guts and patience to sue a Saudi Company. But you did'nt mention what happened in the end. Did you follow the case or returned unfollowed.

However I agree on a lot of things with you. Your answer to one of the commentor "Mohammad Abdul Mujeeb" also is inspiring.

Muslims need to learn certain things from people like you and accept them unbiased (without dogmatism).

this certainly will help the Muslim society Insha Allah (Not Hypocritically, Ha ha).

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 21 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for your comments A.S.Shaikh. I did not follow the case as I went to another job and I would not have been able to do that if I had taken the case. 20 months ago

I'm Saudi man and i'm very proud and also i'm very happy for your clear and honest article. I agree with you almost 100% .

i wish Saudi Arabia go on to highest level of rights.I stablished construction establishement then I closed it because of new rules of employment which makes it too difficult to pay salary and afraid to injustice employees. Also, i hope the government inforce the companies to have good place for their own employees.

Thanks again for honest which makes other trust you when they work with you.

panaka 20 months ago

Is it true that there are 20% taxes on the oil and gas expat salaries?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 20 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Panaka,

There are no taxes levied on salaries in Saudi Arabia.

Elina ponting 18 months ago

Great and a very useful blog for me. Thanks a lot for sharing the blog.

Sanjoy 17 months ago

Hi, I am from India. I have applied for a training managers position for an international hotel chain at their pre-opening property in Al-ahsa. I guess I will be on the payroll of the local owner. What should I expect?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 17 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sanjoy,

If you want to know all about being an expat worker in Saudi Arabia I suggest that you follow the links in the article above and they will take you to a whole series of information about working and living in the kingdom.

ddd 15 months ago

hi, i am a saudi who worked in the States and the UK, i dont understand why you didnt go to your embessy, if you would have even mentioned it to your employer he would have paid you with a smile

i do agree with you about many lazy people but not only saudis, the good saudis who work and understand how to be proffesional in the work place never get a chance to be employed and the reasons are: 3rd world country labour lobbies who make sure these qualified saudis dont get hired in order not to take their job and this is the dumbest theory i have heard because business owners dont want saudis, i worked as a labour worker in the UK and the USA and got paid more than a person who works in an office due to labor laws being a lot more fair hence the blue color and white color jobs, but here the business owner can hire a bengali and pay him 300 dollars a month to work long hours 6-7 days a week and the labor worker cant even complain and thats the truth of how we are one of the worst countries when it comes to labor laws

cleto tanilon 11 months ago

hi Sir, Assalamualaikum I am a filipino Expat I have a problem with my sponsor Kafeel He got all my documents Iqama passport and drivers license, which is my iqama renewal is under my own expense not him. and force to work in his Establishment with no contract and no salary pay for almost 4 months then after that he allowed me to work outside then he was not release my document then he ask me to go back to work with him with no salary again then He allowed me to work then after all he put me in huroob and asking the larges amount to release my Passport iqama and drivers license. until now I hv no work at all because my iqama was already expired last Augost.. what can i do for this I am not going to labor office because i have no iqama to file a complaint against him. do you have any Idea how to file my complaint to the labor office? even without any documents in my position?

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 11 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Cleto

The law in Saudi Arabia is very clear; you can only work for your sponsor. So you are not going to be able to go to the labor office and demand that your sponsor releases your iqama and passport to you so that you can work illegally for another. However the labor office may be able to get him to pay a salary for the work that he wants you to do and may even be able to force him to pay you for the months that you worked with no pay; you must have come with some form of job description and salary expectation so the sponsor should be liable to pay that - unless of course he just claims that you absconded and did not work.

By working illegally in Saudi you open yourself up for abuse as you have zero protection and no way to make anyone pay you . I have met so many people that have worked illegally for a few months and then received ZERO salary. This is not uncommon and there is nothing that you can do about it.

shahid khan 11 months ago


I am IT Engg came to ksa on 15 nov 2015 & terminated on 20th feb 2016 due to i am in probation period as per new saudi labour law (180 days) & joining letter sign by me on 180 days, but my contract mention 90 company giving me salary only for month of feb 2015 in which 20 days i have worked. from 21st feb i am at my is 7 th march and still i have not received exit may be it will take more 10 days. so in this case can i demand company to provide me the salary till i am in ksa as per saudi law.

Help me out and revert if possible


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 11 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Shahid,

You should be paid for all days that you actually worked for the company. However getting the company to pay you there is not always that easy. They should however provide your exit and fly you home.

Good luck.

UMAIR HASAN 11 months ago

Hello Sir, i am from pakistan and i have done my graduation in civil engineering and recently i decided to moved from pakistan to suadia and i am also a fresh engineer so i got work viza for this purpose so basically my question is what are the chances for fresh civil engineer in suadia to get a job is that good idea or not??

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 11 months ago from At the Gemba Author


Buying a visa to work in Saudi Arabia is not a good idea. You can only work legally for your sponsor who is the one that will get you a visa. So if you get a visa from someone that is selling visas just to get you in the country you cannot work legally for anyone else. I get so many people contacting me about not being released by the sponsor of their visas or being forced to work by them for free before they say they will be released and a host of other issues.

I also get a huge amount of mail from those that take jobs on the black market without a proper visa that are then not paid or denied all of their benefits.

If you want to work in Saudi Arabia search for a job first online, apply, get the job and then your employer will be your official sponsor and you will be protected as well as you can be in Saudi.

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