For newcomers in Saudi Arabia, understand that though the Arabs will tolerate foreigners committing social blunders, they might sometimes be unable to judge if the action was done ignorantly or maliciously. Therefore, it is essential to follow a set of general do’s and don’ts to blend into society quite well.
Dress code for women – when you are inside the house, there are generally no restrictions, as long as other men will not see you. But in public, the Arab women usually wear a black over garment, called abaya. The abaya is ankle length, with a high neckline and with long sleeves.
Hair is also covered when wearing the abaya. In Saudi Arabia, even foreign women must her head covered. Short sleeve is not allowed; the elbow should always be included. Also, women must never wear a dress that will reveal their figures. As for the length of their clothing, the trousers and skirts should always be below the knee. As for men, the only restrictions are wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts in public.
For the newcomers who will be working in Saudi Arabia, please bear in mind that you should work with your Kafeel (sponsor) and to complete your probation period. Your visa duration will only be for 90 days. After this period, you will only be allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia only if you have an Iqama or a Residence Permit. The processing of your first Iqama will only be for a week. So, if you happen to like what you are doing, then process your Iqama immediately.
Your Kafeel can also have your Iqama processed even on your first month of stay. Note that your Iqama is your first document during your stay in Saudi Arabia. The Iqama is a card that is issued in the Arabic language.
Before you sign your work contract, please know your fundamental rights as an employee. The Saudi Arabian Labor Law is easy to access and is also available online. The Labor Law states that in a week, your work should be a maximum of 48 hours, and if your employer lets you work beyond this, then you should be compensated for the overtime work.
It is also essential to know the standard salary rate of professionals in Saudi Arabia. Then you will be able to compare if the salary you receive is fair enough. Never, under any circumstances, begin working without a contract. If your employer lets you work without a deal, then you can complain to the Saudi Arabian government because this is illegal.
Your agreement will protect you if ever there will be a dispute that will happen while you work. When signing a contract, always be sure that you understand everything. There must be an English and Arabic version of your agreement. Never sign a contract blindly. Your understanding can protect you or lead you to your demise.
If you are not satisfied with your work, please resign within the probation period. Otherwise, you will remain stuck with the terms and conditions of your employment. The moment you quit within the probation period, your employer will be obliged to issue a final exit visa to you.
Some conditions must be met in case you want your sponsorship to be transferred to another Kafeel. This can also be done without the permission of your present, Kafeel. The two conditions are as follows:
- The Iqama is not issued even after 90 days of the expat’s stay in Saudi Arabia
- The Nitaqat category of the Kafeel is in the red or yellow category.
For you to know the category of your Kafeel in the Nitaqat, you can ask the proper authorities. The information is also available online.