The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued its first permanent residency permits to 73 non-nationals, without the need of a sponsor.
The move follows Saudi's announcement in September of a new 90-day tourist visa, which has opened the country up to visitors for the first time, and is part of an initiative to "to attract overseas investment by enabling selected people to buy property and do business".
According to Bloomberg, the government is hoping these new “premium” residency permits will attract overseas investment by enabling people to buy property and do business without a sponsor, and the first group of recipients come from 19 countries and include investors, doctors, engineers and financiers, according to a statement Monday from the government’s Premium Residency Centre.
A permanent residency permit costs 800,000 riyals while a one-year renewable permit costs 100,000 riyals.
Premium residency permit holders will also be able to switch jobs, exit the kingdom, and sponsor visas for family members.
The initiative was first spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016, and the kingdom hopes to generate approximately $10 million in annual revenue by 2020, while decreasing its dependency on oil.