Foreign investors and guest workers have welcomed the government’s reported plan to issue resident permits (iqamas) for five years instead of one. They said the move would boost the Kingdom’s economic progress. “This is a great step on the part of the government and will have a tremendous impact on businesses,” said Siddeek Ahmed, CMD of Eram Group while responding to the Passport Department’s plan to implement a proposal to extend the iqama validity from one to five years.

Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, director general of the Passport Department, said there is a plan to change the name of iqama to resident ID and extend its validity up to five years. Speaking to reporters in Riyadh on Sunday, he emphasized that the proposal would be implemented shortly.

He said the department was also studying a proposal to extend the validity of Saudi passport to 10 years. Arab News contacted Col. Mohammed Al-Hussain, spokesman of the department in the Makkah region, to know when the five-year iqama would be implemented, but he said he did not have any more details.

However, informed sources said the proposal would be implemented soon after its endorsement by Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif. Al-Yahya’s statement was widely applauded. “The extension of iqama to five years will provide job security to expatriates. It will also help contracting companies to complete their projects on time,” said Siddeek Ahmed… see more

source: arabnews