Saudi Arabia – visa challenge for ESL Teachers

Like most Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia has a major unemployment problem among its 26 million citizens, resulting in a jobless rate of 10.5%. The government has been trying to encourage companies to hire Saudi citizens for years with little impact.

Teaching ESL

Now the government is making a new push: Private companies in Saudi Arabia with more foreign employees than Saudis are to be hit with fees. The policy, which took effect on the 15th Nov makes it mandatory for private companies with a majority of foreign staff to pay 2,300 Saudi riyals, or $640, a year for each expatriate worker, according to a statement by the Labour Ministry.

Many workers are exempt from the rule. They include domestic servants, foreigners with Saudi mothers, and citizens of other Gulf Cooperation Council members — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.

It is not clear how this will impact on the education sector for example with Saudi Arabia’s insatiable appetite for ESL teachers but it is noticeable that visa issues for native born English speakers, the main requirement have been taking longer than normal. Canadian teachers being particularly badly hit owing to government to government issues that are causing the individual teachers to suffer and shortfalls of ESL teachers within Saudi Arabia.


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