While relocating to and working in international jobs in Saudi Arabia is an exciting experience, you should be prepared for the many differences between living in the Middle East and in the Western world. Considering these differences is essential before you make a commitment to your sponsor, or the company for which you will be working.
No matter which international location you decide to relocate to, there are serious considerations to make, relating to paper work, packing and the emotional issues relating to family and friends.
Most people contracted through Prime Time Solutions relocate to Saudi Arabia for 12-month stints that are renewable at the end of the year. It is easier to plan for a year-long stay than it is for a permanent relocation.
The first consideration people face is the culture change. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country where religion is the cornerstone of life and everything is done according to the Quran. This affects living conditions, working relationships, and food choices. Reading up about Islamic culture before you accept an international job offer will ensure that you don't overstep cultural boundaries or offend the people you meet.
Saudi Arabian food is different to that of the Western world, but you will be able to buy most of the foods you are used to in supermarkets. The cities also boast a range of popular chain restaurants and take out joints with which you will be familiar.
Since you will be working in Saudi Arabia, you will need a working visa. In order to qualify for that, you will need to adhere to the following requirements:
Having the documents authenticated will ensure that you receive your permit of residence on time.
If you will be out of South Africa for more than 330 consecutive days, you will be considered a non-resident and therefore not liable to pay tax. You should discuss the situation with a bookkeeper or SARS representative to advise on your unique situation.
Since you will be transferring money to your South African bank account, you don't have to close it. You do however have to make provision for your debit orders and other payments to be taken care of, once you have established your salary date.
Women don't drive in Saudi Arabia, but there is a well-developed public transport system in most places.
Men who will be driving will need to be in posession of an international drivers licence. Upon your arrival, you can convert this to a Saudi drivers licence.
The most difficult aspect of living in Saudi Arabia is being away from family and friends. Single people find this easier as they generally have fewer responsibilities. People who are married and have children should consider these issues relating to international jobs carefully.
Technology in Saudi Arabia allows you to keep in touch with your loved ones via internet and telephone. Single people have reported to enjoy the social life in the Western compounds.
Discuss issues surrounding family crisis with your sponsor company before signing a contract. Most companies are very flexible in terms of allowing contractors to come home in the event of a family crisis.
The best advice we can give prospective international recruitment contractors is to remember that they will be away from their normal lives and they should make provision for that.
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