Saudi Information

Saudi Arabia locationWorking abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, job search in Saudi Arabia requires more than just the obvious Saudi CV and Saudi cover letter writing and translation, it requires thorough preparation. You will face problems that probably did not even come to your mind when you decided to do a Saudi job search.

Do not take too lightly the influence a Saudi Arabia job search can have on the effect of your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, strange job application procedures, unfamiliar job candidate selection criteria and out of the ordinary management culture.

art_warning saudi information

Most visits to Saudi Arabia are trouble-free but you should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against Western interests and civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners like restaurants, hotels, clubs and shopping areas. The Saudi Arabia authorities have carried out a number of investigations and operations against terrorist groups. You should exercise a high level of security awareness and are advised to monitor local news broadcasts and consular messages. Ensure that your travel documents and visas are current and valid and secured in a safe place. Carry with you a photocopy of your travel documents in lieu of the originals. Maintain a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, and exercise caution while driving. Making local contacts quickly and seeking support from other expatriates will greatly increase your comfort and safety.

Time: UTC/GMT+ 3 hours

Telephone country code: + 966

Internet Saudi Arabia code: .sa

Electricity: 127/220 volts AC, 60Hz, plug types A, C, D, G all used. Both the UK-type flat three-pin and European-style two-pin plugs are in use.

School Holidays: Majority of Saudis and expatriates take annual vacations during school holidays:

  • December 20 to January 5,
  • March 28 to April 5,
  • June 6 to August 25

Many Saudis and expatriates leave the country during the worst of the summer heat In June through August.

Public Holidays:

Friday is considered a day of prayer and rest, so meetings should not be scheduled for this day. Calls to Arab people should also be avoided on this day. Similarly, local people will not answer the telephone during siestas, which are usually taken between 1400 and 1700.

Holiday Date (Islamic calendar) Approx.Date (Gregorian Calendar)
Eid Al-Adha 10 Dhul-Hijah Jan-Feb
Muslim New Year 1 Muharram Feb-Mar
Ashura 10 Muharram Feb-Mar
Prophert's birthday 12 Rabbi II Apr-May
Prophet's ascension 27 Rajab Sep
Ramadan 1 Ramadan October
Eid Al-Fitr 1 Shawaal Nov
National Day   Sep 23

Note that a National ‘Day’ usually lasts two or three days!

Business Hours:

  • Offices - Sat-Wed 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00.
  • Government - Sat-Wed 07:30-14:30
  • Post office - Sat-Wed 07:00-14:00, Thurs 07:00-12:00.
  • Banks - Sat-Wed 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-20:00.
  • Stores, shops and markets - Sat-Wed 08:00-22:00.

Background:

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendents rules the country today as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2005.

Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003.

Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism.

King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. The king instituted an interfaith dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet.

The 2010-12 uprising across Middle Eastern and North African countries sparked modest incidents in Saudi cities, predominantly by Shia demonstrators calling for the release of detainees and the withdrawal from Bahrain of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force. Protests in general were met by a strong police presence, with some arrests, but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. In response to the unrest, King ABDALLAH in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits to Saudi citizens including funds to build affordable housing, salary increases for government workers, and unemployment benefits.

To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils. Also in September, the king announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. During 2012, Shia protests increased in violence, while peaceful Sunni protests expanded.

The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds more than 20% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in December 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are all ongoing governmental concerns.

Capital: Riyadh

Climate: harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

June through August, over 110 degrees Fahrenheit midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.

Ethnic groups: Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Languages: Arabic (official), English is widely used and understood.

Other Saudi Information

We hope that your Saudi job search has been successful and you have your Saudi visa with Saudi work permit too. So, if your Saudi cover letter and Saudi CV are ready, you may email them to your future employers and start preparing for a Saudi job interview.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with the Saudi information.

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