The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known for being the largest exporter of oil. It comes 18th in the list of the world’s largest economies. Of the 33.4 million people in the country, 38% are expats in short-term employment. Even though it is one of the most conservative societies in the world, a large portion of expats having jobs in GCC countries are in Saudi Arabia. With its booming economy and ‘Vision 2030’ to take the country to new heights, there are many jobs in Saudi Arabia that are suitable for expats.
It is normal to have many questions while looking for jobs in a country that is not familiar to you. In this blog, we answer some of the common questions asked regarding the life of expats in Saudi Arabia.
The cities in Saudi Arabia are generally cheaper to live in compared to other Middle Eastern countries. When it comes to expats, most jobs come with subsidized housing, transport, health insurance, and education for children. You can say that the cost of living in the city is in the mid-range at most. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia introduced minimum wage laws, and the Saudi Labor Ministry has set the minimum wage for expats at SAR 2,500 per month.
It is almost 2.8 times costlier to live in Saudi Arabia than in India. But if you compare the benefits, you can lead a much better lifestyle. As of 2017, expats who bring their families as dependents to the country are required to pay SAR 400 per dependent per month. Even if this may cause a dent in your savings, the low petrol prices, and no income tax policies of the country still make living in the country a very attractive proposition.
Numbeo estimates you would need an average of 220,199.61₹ for a family of four to live in the country. You will have to pay around SAR 365 per month for utilities like electricity, water, and gas. Considering the extreme climates, you might have to pay a bit more if you want to keep your air-conditioners or heaters on at all times during summers and winters respectively. Also, Check: Jobs in GCC
Groceries and other food items are reasonably priced in Saudi Arabia. You get good quality vegetables and fruits at good prices. If you want Indian food items, they are also available in various supermarkets but may cost a little higher than what you are used to. According to Numbeo, the average required expense for one person to have an adequate balanced diet would take around 13,000₹.
Eating out is also somewhat expensive, but there are also many restaurants that provide good quality food at reasonable prices. It is important to note that pork, drugs, and alcohol are strictly prohibited in the country, and anyone caught with them will face severe punishments.
Being a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia follows Islamic laws and expects anyone residing in the country to follow the same. Everyone is expected to understand and respect local traditions, customs, and laws and take care not to offend them.
Ramadan is a holy month in the country during which Muslims fast from dusk to dawn. Saudi authorities expect everyone to refrain from eating or drinking in public during the day this month.
Practicing other religions other than Islam is permissible as long as it is done in the privacy of your home. Public displays of affection and using profane languages and expressions are frowned upon, and you cannot take anyone’s photo or video without permission.
Men and women are expected to dress modestly in public, covering knees and shoulders and avoiding tight-fitting clothes. Now, it is not mandatory for foreigners to wear the traditional abaya, but you should always be dressed modestly. As of June 2018, women can legally obtain a license to drive cars and scooters.
Even with the strict laws in place, the people in the country are warm and welcoming. Crime rates are also low in Saudi Arabia. If you are ready to make some compromises to follow the rules and regulations in the country, then Saudi Arabia should be on the top of your list if you are planning on moving countries to earn a living.