Tips of Jobs Seekers

Guide for Expats on Saudi Professional
Verification Program

February 03, 2024


Delta International

Professional, Program, Saudi, Verification


The Skill Verification Program (SVP) is a pivotal initiative by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) to ensure that expatriates working in Saudi Arabia possess the necessary skills for their respective professions. The program aims to enhance the quality of the workforce and align it with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 objectives.

The SVP is not only a measure of skill but also a prerequisite for certain procedures, such as Iqama issuance and renewal.

To participate in the SVP, expatriates must undergo a series of assessments. The process is as follows:

  • Register for the SVP through the designated online portal.
  • Schedule an appointment for the skill assessment test.
  • Attend the assessment at an accredited testing center.
  • Receive the skill verification certificate upon passing the test.

Understanding the Saudi Professional Verification Program

Saudi Arabia has launched the first phase of the SVP in various countries, including Pakistan, to facilitate the verification process for expatriates before they arrive in the Kingdom.

House Drivers Iqama Profession

In Saudi Arabia, the profession listed on an expatriate’s Iqama, or residence permit, is of significant importance as it is tied to employment and legal status. House drivers, specifically, may find themselves questioning whether they can change their designated profession on their Iqama. The process for changing one’s Iqama profession is not straightforward and involves several steps and clearances from various authorities.

  • Firstly, the employer must have a valid reason for requesting the change.
  • Secondly, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development’s approval is required.
  • Thirdly, the expatriate must meet the qualifications for the new profession.

It is crucial for house drivers to ensure that their Iqama profession accurately reflects their actual job role to avoid legal complications.

For those considering such a change, it is recommended to consult with legal experts or the Ministry of Interior to understand the latest rules and procedures. Keep in mind that certain professions may be reserved exclusively for Saudi nationals, and it is essential to verify if the desired profession falls under such a category.

Iqama Transferability with Saudi Professional Verification Program | Source:

Iqama Transferability

The ability to transfer an Iqama is a critical aspect for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia. Transferability is essential for those seeking new employment opportunities within the Kingdom. The process involves several steps and requirements that must be met to ensure a smooth transition.

  • First, the current employer must grant permission for the transfer.
  • Second, the prospective employer initiates the transfer request through the Qiwa platform.
  • Third, payment of the transfer fee is required, which varies depending on the expatriate’s profession and the number of previous transfers.
  • Lastly, the transfer must be completed within a specific timeframe to avoid penalties
Here a short guide on “How to Develop Hiring Skills Assessments?“

It is important to note that not all Iqama professions are eligible for transfer. Certain categories, such as house drivers, have restrictions placed upon their ability to change employers.

Understanding the nuances of Iqama transferability can prevent potential issues and ensure compliance with Saudi labor laws. Expatriates should familiarize themselves with the process and seek assistance if needed to navigate the complexities of the system.

Dubai On-Arrival Visa

For expatriates looking to travel to Dubai, understanding the on-arrival visa process is essential. The UAE Police Clearance Certificate (PCC), also known as the Good Standing Certificate, is a vital document for visa applications. This certificate serves as a background check, indicating that the individual has no criminal history within the UAE.

When planning your travel, consider the following steps to ensure a smooth visa on arrival experience:

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.
  • Check if your country is eligible for a visa on arrival in Dubai.
  • Obtain the necessary documents, including the UAE PCC, before departure.

It's important to note that the visa on arrival is typically valid for a short duration, and visitors must adhere to the UAE's entry and exit requirements.

For those seeking employment or long-term stay, additional visa procedures will apply. Talent mapping is a strategic approach often utilized to secure top candidates for roles in Dubai’s competitive job market.

Reading Iqama Details

Understanding how to read and check your Iqama details is crucial for expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. Your Iqama number is provided by your employer and is essential for various administrative processes. To check your Iqama status online, you can use the Absher platform, which offers a range of services including Iqama expiry checks and vehicle registration.

To verify your Iqama status through Absher, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Absher using your username or Iqama number.
  2. Input the OTP sent to your mobile to complete the login process.
  3. Select ‘Query Iqama Expiry Service’ to view the expiration date of your Iqama.

It's important to keep your Iqama details up-to-date and ensure that your health insurance policy is valid. Checking your insurance status can be done through the CHI's Iqama insurance check page, where you can view details such as the insurance company, policy number, and expiration date.

Iqama Fee Arrears

Managing Iqama fee arrears is crucial for expatriates in Saudi Arabia. Failure to pay Iqama fees on time can result in penalties , including fines or even deportation. It’s important to understand the fee structure and the consequences of falling behind.

To avoid fee arrears, expatriates should be aware of the following:

  • The timeline for Iqama renewal and associated fees.
  • The process for paying Iqama fees through various banking channels.
  • The penalties for late payment or non-payment of fees.

Keeping track of Iqama fee deadlines and ensuring timely payment is essential for maintaining legal residency status in Saudi Arabia.

If you find yourself in arrears, it’s advisable to address the situation promptly. Contact the relevant authorities or your employer to discuss payment options and avoid further complications. Remember, staying informed and proactive about your Iqama fees is key to a trouble-free stay in the Kingdom.

Expatriate Details via Iqama Number

For expatriates in Saudi Arabia, the Iqama serves as a critical identity document, encapsulating personal and professional details.Knowing your Iqama status is essential, as it affects your legal status, ability to work, and access to services. Expatriates can verify their Iqama details through various online and offline methods.

To check your Iqama status online, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Ministry of Labor website or use the Absher app.
  2. Enter the required information, including your Iqama number and birthdate.
  3. Input the captcha number and click ‘Next’ to view results.

The red-green status system of an expat's Iqama is connected to Saudi Arabia's Nitaqat program, which categorizes companies based on their compliance with Saudization policies.

For those preferring offline methods, visiting the nearest Jawazat (Passport Office) with your passport is an option to verify your permit’s expiration date. Additionally, checking Iqama status via SMS is possible by sending a specific code to service providers like STC, Mobily, or Zain.

Permanent vs Contract Recruitment

In the realm of talent acquisition, the decision between permanent and contract recruitment is pivotal for organizations.Permanent recruitment refers to the long-term hiring of employees who become integral parts of the company, while contract recruitment is the practice of hiring individuals for a specific period or project, often with a focus on specialized skills or temporary needs.

  • Permanent Recruitment:
    • Long-term employment
    • Employee benefits and growth
    • Company loyalty and culture fit
  • Contract Recruitment:
    • Short-term or project-based
    • Flexibility and specialized skills
    • Cost-effective for temporary needs

When considering which route to take, businesses must weigh the pros and cons of each. Permanent hires may offer stability and a chance to nurture talent within the company, but contract workers can provide immediate expertise without the long-term commitment. Utilize structured interview questions for effective talent acquisition, ensuring that the chosen recruitment strategy aligns with the company’s goals and project requirements.

Exit-Reentry Visa Violators

Expatriates in Saudi Arabia must adhere to the terms of their work permits, including the conditions of their exit-reentry visas. Violating these terms can lead to severe consequences, including the inability to transfer their Iqama to a new employer. This is particularly relevant if the expatriate has a criminal record, fails to meet certain conditions, or if the new employer is not compliant with local employment quotas

In a significant policy shift, Saudi Arabia has lifted the three-year ban on foreign workers who failed to return before the expiration of their exit and re-entry visas. This change reflects the Kingdom’s evolving approach to immigration and labor policies, aiming to balance the enforcement of regulations with the flexibility needed in a dynamic labor market.

  • If an expatriate employee has a final criminal judgment for a serious offense, transfer is not permitted.
  • Transfer requests within the last three months of work permit validity, without employer consent, are declined.
  • Violations of work permit terms or the presence of a new employer violation can prevent Iqama transferability.

Premium Residency

The Saudi Premium Residency is a significant initiative that offers a package tailored for expats, providing a pathway to long-term and permanent residency. This program is designed to facilitate the integration of expatriates into Saudi society, offering benefits that extend to immediate family members.

One of the key advantages of the Premium Residency is the exemption from the dependent fee for immediate family members. This allows families of cardholders to reside in Saudi Arabia with greater financial ease. The program also simplifies access to various services, enhancing the daily life and travel experiences of expatriates.

The Premium Residency gives card holder's immediate families the opportunity to reside in Saudi Arabia without paying the dependent fee. These family members can enjoy the privileges of the residency card, which includes but is not limited to, easier access to education and healthcare services.

For those considering the Premium Residency, it’s important to understand the scope of services and benefits it entails. Below is a list of key fields covered by the service package:

  • Immigration Counseling: Guidance on residency policies and practical information services.
  • Social Integration: Activities and services to promote urban life and volunteer services.

Bus Driver Uniforms

In Saudi Arabia, the professional appearance of bus drivers is taken seriously, with specific regulations in place regarding their uniforms. Uniform standards are not only about aesthetics but also about safety and identification. Bus companies are required to provide their drivers with uniforms that meet these standards.

  • Uniforms must be clean, professional, and reflective of the company’s branding.
  • They should include a name tag or badge for easy identification.
  • High-visibility vests or stripes are essential for safety during night shifts or in poor visibility conditions.

Uniform guidelines are designed to ensure that drivers are easily recognizable to passengers and maintain a standard of professionalism that reflects on the service provider.

For expatriates working as bus drivers, understanding and adhering to these uniform requirements is crucial. It is also important for expatriates to be aware of the broader professional verification program, which includes aspects such as skill verification and iqama-related procedures. Staying informed about these regulations can help prevent issues related to employment and legal status in the Kingdom.

Saudi Council of Engineers SCE Test

The Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) test is a critical step for expatriate engineers seeking to renew their Iqama, or residency permit, in Saudi Arabia. The SCE test ensures that engineering professionals meet the required standards before they are allowed to practice in the Kingdom.

To register for the SCE exams, engineers must follow a set of procedures that include verifying their academic credentials and professional experience. The SCE website provides an inquiry service about engineers who have passed the examination, which is essential for employers and government entities.

The SCE test is not only a regulatory requirement but also a measure to uphold the quality and integrity of the engineering profession in Saudi Arabia.

Overseas Agencies for Saudi Professional Verification Program

Manpower Recruitment Agency

In the dynamic landscape of Saudi Arabia’s job market, Manpower Recruitment Agencies play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between companies and potential employees. These agencies specialize in sourcing and placing expatriate engineers, technicians, and various skilled professionals across industries.

Overseas Manpower Recruitment Agencies offer a spectrum of services, from providing temporary staffing solutions to facilitating permanent placements. Their expertise lies in understanding the specific needs of businesses and matching them with the right talent.

To ensure a successful partnership with a recruitment agency, consider the following points:

  • Evaluate the agency’s legal status and industry recognition.
  • Check for a comprehensive range of services tailored to your sector.
  • Assess the agency’s track record in placing expatriate professionals.

For instance, SMASCO, a pioneer licensed manpower solution company recognized by the Ministry of Labor in KSA, provides innovative and comprehensive manpower solutions. Such agencies are instrumental in the seamless integration of expatriate workforce into the Saudi job market.

Saudi Census 2022

The Saudi Census 2022 marked a significant effort in gathering comprehensive data about the Kingdom’s population and demographics. This initiative was crucial for planning and implementing various social and economic programs. The census aimed to provide insights into the population’s structure, including age, gender, and employment status, which are essential for tailoring public services to the needs of the community.

One of the key components of the census was the integration with existing government databases, such as the Iqama system, to ensure accuracy and efficiency in data collection. The results of the census are expected to influence policy-making and contribute to the development of a more robust social security system. For expatriates, understanding the census outcomes can be beneficial, as it may affect areas such as Iqama regulations and employment opportunities.

The Saudi Census 2022 serves as a cornerstone for future strategic planning and resource allocation across the Kingdom.

While the official website,, was intended to provide detailed information and updates, some users have reported difficulty accessing the site, with messages indicating that no information is available for certain pages. It is advisable for expatriates to stay informed through alternative official channels or local news outlets to understand how the census results might impact their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Digital Iqama Using Absher

The Absher platform has revolutionized the way expatriates manage their residency documents in Saudi Arabia. Digital Iqama, an electronic version of the physical residency card, can be accessed and managed through the Absher app, simplifying life for expats significantly. This digital transformation aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to enhance the efficiency of government services.

To access your Digital Iqama, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Absher using your username or Iqama number.
  2. Receive and input the OTP sent to your registered mobile number.
  3. Select ‘Query Iqama Expiry Service’ to view the expiration date of your Iqama.

Keep your Iqama number and birthdate ready, as you will need these to access various services on the app. Your employer should provide your Iqama number even before your arrival in the Kingdom.

The validity of the Digital Iqama is the same as the physical card, typically one year from the issue date and renewable. For those concerned about the impact of automation on jobs, the introduction of Digital Iqama is a testament to the positive changes that technology can bring to bureaucratic processes, making them more accessible and user-friendly.

Changing Iqama Picture

The process of changing your Iqama picture is straightforward but requires attention to detail. It’s important to ensure that your new photograph meets the official guidelines set by the Saudi authorities. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Visit the nearest Jawazat office with your current Iqama.
  2. Fill out the application form for Iqama picture change.
  3. Submit the required documents, including a new passport-sized photograph as per the specifications.
  4. Pay the applicable fee for the picture change service.
  5. Collect your Iqama with the updated photograph once the process is complete.

Remember, your Iqama is your primary identification in Saudi Arabia, and keeping it up-to-date is crucial for legal and administrative purposes.

For those seeking additional guidance, such as Pakistani citizens attesting degrees for Saudi Arabia, it’s advisable to consult with the respective embassy or professional agencies that specialize in expatriate services.

Checking Iqama Profession

For expatriates in Saudi Arabia, keeping track of the Iqama profession is crucial for ensuring their legal employment status aligns with their actual job role. The Iqama, a residence permit, is central to an expat’s life in the kingdom, serving as a key identifier and often required for official transactions.

To verify your Iqama profession online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to the Absher platform using your username or Iqama number.
  2. Receive and input the one-time pin (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number.
  3. Select ‘Query Iqama Expiry Service’ to view your Iqama status, including your profession.

Alternatively, you can send an SMS with the format 12SponsorIDIqama number to the numbers provided by your mobile service provider. For offline verification, visit the nearest Jawazat (Passport Office) with your original passport.

It's essential to have your Iqama number and birthdate at hand when prompted during the verification process. This information is typically provided by your employer prior to your arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Understanding your Iqama’s red-green status, which is linked to the Nitaqat program, is also important for comprehending your employer’s compliance with Saudi labor laws. This can affect the transferability of your Iqama and your legal working status in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Saudi Professional Verification Program all about?

The Saudi Professional Verification Program is a process designed to verify the skills and qualifications of expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.

Can expats change their profession as house drivers in Saudi Arabia?

No, expats working as house drivers in Saudi Arabia cannot change their profession.

Is the Iqama transferable in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, the Iqama is transferable in Saudi Arabia under the Nakal Kafala rule.

Can Saudi Iqama holders get Dubai on-arrival visa?

Yes, Saudi Iqama holders are eligible for Dubai on-arrival visa.

How can one check Iqama fee arrears for former employees in Saudi Arabia?

To check Iqama fee arrears for former employees, one must follow the guidelines provided by the Saudi authorities.

What is the difference between permanent and contract recruitment in Saudi Arabia?

Permanent recruitment involves hiring employees on a long-term basis, while contract recruitment is for a specific duration.

How can expatriates check their details in Saudi Arabia using the Iqama number?

Expatriates can check their details in Saudi Arabia by entering their Iqama number on the official platform.

How can one change the Iqama picture online in Saudi Arabia?

The Iqama picture can be changed online through the official channels provided by the Saudi government.

Tips of Jobs Seekers: Guide for Expats on Saudi Professional Verification Program

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