Gulf Labour Markets, Migration, and Population (GLMM) Programme

An international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of a major Gulf think tank and a globally renowned academic migration centre.
The programme provides data, analyses, and recommendations contributing to the improvement of understanding and management of
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Saudi Arabia: Work visas alloted for employment in the private sector, by country of citizenship and sex of holder (2014)

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Males Females Total % of total
India 465,467 6,421 471,888 28.8
Pakistan 286,519 704 287,223 17.5
Egypt 236,301 3,432 239,733 14.6
Philippines 159,722 27,312 187,034 11.4
Nepal 130,084 3,278 133,362 8.1
Sudan 57,066 499 57,565 3.5
Yemen 53,570 244 53,814 3.3
Sri Lanka 38,332 2,464 40,796 2.5
Indonesia 20,853 5,214 26,067 1.6
Turkey 21,833 74 21,907 1.3
China 20,059 61 20,120 1.2
Jordan 18,290 750 19,040 1.2
Bangladesh 10,347 270 10,617 0.6
Vietnam 7,505 2,337 9,842 0.6
Lebanon 6,760 404 7,164 0.4
Kenya 2,561 4,285 6,846 0.4
UK 4,815 741 5,556 0.3
USA 4,779 646 5,425 0.3
Morocco 4,480 899 5,379 0.3
South Korea 2,485 2 2,487 0.2
Other countries 20,587 4,204 24,791 1.5
Total 1,572,415 64,241 1,636,656 100.0

Source: Ministry of Labour

1. Definitions

The labour visa allows the worker to enter Saudi Arabia. It is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Ministry of Labour issues its agreement.
In order to employ workers from abroad, the sponsoring company must first file a “Block Visa” request with the Ministry of Labor, requesting pre-approval to sponsor foreign employees.
Once the Block Visa request is approved, the sponsoring company in Saudi Arabia should obtain a visa authorization number and an electronic power of attorney authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia.
Foreign nationals may then apply for work visas through Saudi consular posts in their country of residence. Several documents are required before issuance of work visas, including medical certificate.
Therefore, work visas are more than the actual workers present in the country and granted labour permits, as some eventually do not terminate the procedure, or are rejected at a later stage (entry visa; residency procedures…).

Temporary or seasonal visas are alloted for short-term and limited employment duration, for example for the provision of sevices during the Hajj season in Makkah and Madina, or in agriculture.

2. Institution which provides data

Ministry of Labour of Saudi Arabia (http://portal.mol.gov.sa/Sites/default.aspx)

3. Data availability

The figures are published in the Ministry of Labour’s website (open data section) (in Arabic).
http://portal.mol.gov.sa/ar/Statistics/Pages/opendata.aspx?m=8

Last date of access: 18 December 2015.