Going out into the unknown can be daunting at the best of times, and with so many various opinions online, it can seem even more daunting than it really is. That is why we have put together a list of advantages and disadvantages to help you be more prepared and to understand the truth about living and working in Saudi Arabia.
Firstly, there is a great financial advantage to working in the Middle East. Salaries and work benefits are generally better than in many other countries and of course, there is no tax on salaries. There are no salary deductions, but it is suggested that you take out health insurance and a pension plan as there is no social security system for foreigners. Most companies offer an 'end of contract bonus' on conclusion of a contract, which is often sizable.
Saudi Arabian companies from all over the country hire international workers for engineering jobs, medical jobs and education jobs. The financial benefits attract many people from across the globe, which means that people are exposed to different cultures.
The technology in the Middle East is on a par with that of European countries, the USA and South Africa, which means that the skills you have will be suitable and the technical aspects of working will be similar.
While it is often easier for contractors who are single to go work in Saudi Arabia, married people with families have made successful transitions. Expat spouses will need to apply for their own work visas if they want to work in Saudi Arabia.
It is easier for male spouses to find work in Saudi Arabia, but women with proper qualifications are often able to find temporary employment in teaching, healthcare and real estate. There is a great demand for private English tutors. Local recruitment agents should be able to help arrange work permits and find employment for female expats.
Foreigners often have to adjust to the culture of doing business in Saudi Arabia. Religion is the cornerstone to all aspects of Saudi Arabian life and family ties are revered. Meetings can go on for hours without any clear goals and outcomes and it's important to compliment people and learn to read between the lines. It is important for expats to understand the value of building and maintaining a large network of business connections, as families are large and ties are close.
As you can see, there are many aspects to living and working in Saudi Arabia and most contractors who have returned say that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
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