Planning to Work And Live In Saudi Arabia? What Expats Need To Know

6 minutes read

The travel bug has bitten the young and the old alike and many of them  aspire to visit and experience as many countries as possible in their lifetime. But not everybody is born with a silver spoon to be able to turn their elaborate travel dreams into a reality. So, what people have started doing, is find jobs in other countries. Working in a foreign country not only allows you to finance your stay in a country but also gives you a peek into how it is like to live in a certain country. You get to experience the real deal – the food, the culture and the people.

Earlier, people were interested in working either in the USA or in the UK, but many new countries have been added to the list. One such addition is Saudi Arabia. Today, many people are relocating to Saudi Arabia not just for discovering the beauty of the place but also for the intercultural experience it has to offer.

But that’s not it.

Besides the new cultural experience and beautiful locations, the country offers great employment opportunities as well. You can easily find great jobs in Saudi Arabia with attractive pay packages and to top it all, the money you make is tax-free. Many people move to Saudi Arabia solely for this reason too.

Whatever may be the reason, the country is an experience in itself and if you are planning to relocate to Saudi Arabia, then I have compiled together all the information you need to know about the country before making the move.

Saudi Arabia Map image

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Saudi Arabia — Things you need to adapt to

Saudi Arabia is a relatively new country as it was founded in the year 1932. But the region’s history dates back further in time. The country is proud to be the birth place of Islam and the religion is followed strictly by its people. This means that anyone who decides to move to Saudi Arabia for work needs to be highly flexible and open to making adjustments in their lifestyle. Despite aspiring to be modern, Saudi Arabia is still one of the most traditional countries in the world. Not just the locals but foreigners are also expected to comply with the traditions, religious beliefs and rules, written or otherwise, of the country as the law is the same for locals and expats. If you are planning to move to Saudi Arabia, then some of the things you must be prepared to cope up with are:

  • The Climate

    It is not just the culture shock but also the climate shock that awaits you in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During peak summer months, the temperature in some places may go as high as 50 degree Celsius. If you are a native of a cold country, then you might find it difficult to immediately adjust to the climate.

  • Gender Segregation in Public Places

    Men and Women cannot mix up and communicate openly in Saudi Arabia even if you are an expat. So, the opportunities to socialize are limited to residential compounds built for expats.

  • No Dating Culture

    You are not allowed to date publicly or even seen together. In fact there is not even a scope to date because all the restaurants and coffee shops have separate sections for men and family/women.

  • Import or Consumption of any kind of Drug, Alcohol, or Pork Meat

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits the consumption of alcohol, drugs and pork. If you are found consuming any of these things, then the punishments levied are very strict.

  • Dressing Indecently according to local standards

    If you are a woman planning to move to Saudi Arabia, then you must know that women are supposed to dress in a certain way, which means that you need to cover your bodies properly. In short, short dresses cannot be worn at public places.

  • Openly Practicing a Religion Other than Islam:

    Non-Muslims are not allowed to practice their religion openly. Saudi Arabia strictly follows Islam and expats are expected to respect and comply with this rule. You also need to be aware  that Muslims offer prayers five times in a day and each prayer lasts for about thirty minutes. During the prayers, everything is closed; be it shops or malls and you must leave the premises during that time.

  • Restrictions on Women

    This hold true even for Expat women. They cannot mix with men, unless the ones they are seen with are their husbands or they share a direct blood relation with them. Mobility is also restricted for women and travelling alone in taxis is not safe as well. What’s advisable here for the women is to live in a secure compound and be very careful while stepping out.

Hospitality is held up as a great virtue by Saudi Arabians, but they simply detest any kind of behavior which is not in accordance with their beliefs and culture. As mentioned earlier also, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a very religious and conservative country, especially for people from Western countries. But expats are strongly advised to watch their actions, even non-intentional ones, which may offend the people of host country.

Now that you know all about the culture of the country and all you need to adapt to, here’s a list of cities where you can plan to settle down in Saudi Arabia:

1. Jeddah:

 Jeddah Saudi Arabia image

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Jeddah being the capital of the country, ranks very high among expats as it offers great employment opportunities and is more advanced in many aspects as compared to other cities. You will find high numbers of foreigners due to the diverse culture, presence of people from different parts of the world and the beautiful coastline. The beaches are not open to public but there are many private beaches where you can enjoy the water and the sand.

2. Riyadh

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Riyadh does not have beaches but offers a completely different kind of landscape. It is right in the middle of the dessert which may not be good for people with sinuses or dust allergy. But what most people love about this place is that it gets really cold at nights. Also, the job opportunities are many in Riyadh. It is also well versed with all the amenities you will find in big and modern cities.

3. Dammam

Saudi Arabia Dammam image

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Dammam is not as huge as Jeddah in its size but is still considered one of the most preferred city for residence by expats in terms of the many employment opportunities one finds here and a booming economy. While providing all the modern amenities of a big city, Dammam continues to be a peaceful city. The housing options are cheaper as compared to other cities and the compounds come with western facilities. The city offers a beautiful coastline and is well connected to Bahrain which serves as a great weekend destination for people residing there.

You will find tonnes of opportunities for making money in Saudi Arabia and tonnes of opportunities for making good memories and great friends. But it all depends on how well prepared you are for the experiences that Saudi Arabia has to offer. The cities can be ranked but not the people. If you respect the culture, the people, and their beliefs and adapt yourself accordingly, then you will find that Saudis are very hospitable, friendly and generous people.


About the Author:
Megha Raizada Guest Author image
Megha Raizada is a professional writer working with the premium job portal She has a keen interest in the global job market, but also loves to keep a track of everything interesting happening around the globe. When not writing or browsing the Internet, you will find her creating furniture out of used tires. You can reach her at Twitter and Google+.

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