Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thank you



Dear fellow expatriates, friends and well-wishers,



Today is a great day. Your favorite blog had its 50,000th visitor today. A big thank you to all of you! Within 20 months after starting this blog, the number of visitors, I should say with modesty, is phenomenal. But more important is that so many fellow expatriates in Saudi Arabia and potential expats to the kingdom have benefitted from this. No money can equal that good feeling . This site is viewed by everyone not just as yet another blog but as a reliable source of information on Saudi Arabia.With all humility, I promise to take this to greater heights. Once again, thanks to all of you!

44 comments:

Micper said...

Dear Expat Guru,
Nice to hear that Good news....! its amazing. My deepest congratulations, and lots n lots of best wishes. Please keep writing.
Inshallah the next 50,000 will be in less than 20 months.
Thanks once again on behalf of me and the persons who benefited from this blog.
GOOD WORK
Take Care

Deepa said...

Congrats !
Keep up the good work

Expatguru said...

Deepa,

I am so indebted to you. Your guidance played such an important role in fine tuning this blog and making it what it is today. Thanks a ton!

Expatguru said...

Micper,

Thanks. Support of readers like you made this possible.

AFIFA said...

great job expatguru...!
regards
afifa

Expatguru said...

Thanks, Afifa.

Anonymous said...

NICE TO HEAR MATE..

GREAT ACHIEVEMENT FOR GREAT JOB BEING DONE FOR THE WELFARE OF EXPATS.

FOR SURE IT WON'T TAKE MUCH TIME TO REACH 100,000 VISITORS BECAUSE, NOW YOU ARE GETTING LOTS & LOTS OF NEW VISITORS AND AT THE SAME TIME NOT LOSING ANY OF THEM BY PROVIDNG LOT OF NEW INFOS / ADVICES.

ADVANCE CONGRATS FOR THE SAME.

MSK

Zeeshan said...

Congrats! I am grateful for the information i am receiving through your efforts. My prays and best wishes are with you.

Zeeshan.

Expatguru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Expatguru said...

Zeeshan and MSK,

Thanks for your support.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all this information.

I have the possibility of coming out to Saudi Arabia for a year to do consulting.

I was not at all sure what to expect so your blog along with some comments from a Saudi friend have really helped.

Thank you so much for this insight.

One slight suggestion is whether you could make a more easy to search system of the blog posts. I had to go month for month. If I could access all articles in one place it would be easier.

However, that is a minor point compared to the fantastic insight you have given.

Rishi said...

Congrats Expatguru .. keep up the good work.

Rishi.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comments. Your suggestion is good, but unfortunately the present template offered by blogger is not so user-friendly, so I had to actually create this calendar template using external HTML codes (not by blogger). The only problem is that there are so many topics to cover and it is rather difficult to organize them under a few topics. I am working on it and probably very soon you may get a better format. Thanks once again for your views.

Expatguru said...

Rishi,

Thanks.

mohammed said...

Good Day sir,

Good work helping others.
I am in India - Hyderabad.I have received my visa copy attested in my passport in xerox.
He says my job is in Dammam in a company called Al-Bukhari and it is a visa for sales-executive.
my agent says it is genuine.First thing is he has taken 85000/ form me to get the visa and he has taken four months for the stamping.
How shall I know weather it is a genuine one? I just have the xerox copy with me.

Expatguru said...

Mohammed,

It is impossible to find out a visa's genuinity by a photocopy. Try to get back your money, if possible. It looks like you have been cheated by the agent.

Ajit Philip said...

Hi Sir,
I want to check with you regarding the procedure for bringing my son to Saudi Arabia. He is 1 year old now. My wife is already with me in Saudi Arabia since 2 years. Recently i got the visa slip (yellow paper) for my son. Can you please tell me what steps i have to take now to bring my son to Saudi Arabia . We plan to bring him while going for next vacation very soon.

Expatguru said...

Ajit,

The procedure is the same as what you followed while you brought your wife. For further details, see the archives in this blog.

farooq said...

hi,

i am a doctor planning on working in saudia. People have scared me about heavy fines in case something goes wrong. Kindly guide if possible

Expatguru said...

Farooq,

20% of the population of Saudi Arabia are expatriates. There are close to over 3 million expats working here. Of course, the fines are heavy, but these are for law breakers, not for common people. For example, if you possess liquor, you face public lashing and if you deal with drugs, you face beheadment. As long as you mind your own work, do not indulge in politics, do not criticize the royalty or any Saudi for that matter either in public or in private, nobody will bother you. Remember, expats are here to make money, not for anything else!

farooq said...

Hi,

Thank you very much for the prompt reply. Your blog is very useful and practical. Keep up the good work.

Micper said...

Dear Sir,
Believe me, I used to visit your blog most often, looking for updates, new comments and ur replies.
Good work.. keep it up.
In your recent articles and comments, you clearly mentioned that, these days its impossible (almost impossible) to change profession from labour or such categories. Though I rely and trust u very much, but still I unable to digest it properly.
Still my "hope" remains the same.
I am about to submit my documents for profession change from Labour category to some IT related profession.
Will u kindly try to collect the information from more authentic sources like any HR Manager of any reputed company where there are more number of employees, any senior or well experienced Govt. Rel officer, Private reputed agents etc.
As I mentioned earlier -"In this land, there is always an exceptional case with every one". It might be possible that you come across with such exceptional cases.
This blog is a part of your hobby, but for us, its our necessity.
Will you please make it in some professional way?
Sorry, if i wrote something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother

Congrats for your nice work.

Thanks for all info.

What about NOC policy of saudi embassy in India. One of friend said still they ask NOC to stamp new visa.

kindly throw some light on this issue.

Thanking you

with warm regards

Aravinth

Expatguru said...

Micper,

I understand your problem and respect your sentiment. Regarding transfer of profession from labor to a professional category, as I mentioned earlier, what I wrote was based on personal experiences of my colleague. He has personally handled his transfer of profession, gone to the court, seen the proceedings first hand and reported to me his experiences. I have no reason to disbelieve him, nor do I have any vested interest in giving a wrong information in this blog. As mentioned in the past, I don't get paid for writing this blog, so I have nothing to gain or lose by giving an information which is wrong or right. Having said this, I try to maintain a high degree of credibility, because this blog takes about 50 hits every hour from around the globe.

About 2 years back, transferring from labor / painter / carpenter profession to a supervisory profession was definitely possible. What I am writing now is the latest scenario (about a couple of months back). The scene could change when you submit your papers, who knows? The problem is, Micper, there is no official announcement, no website, no link from where you can verify this. One day the rule is there, the next day it isn't. Take the typical example of NOC. There is a rule made in 2006, but not implemented by Saudi embassies around the world. Suddenly, NOC was made not mandatory for Indians, and with the same suddenness, it was withdrawn without notice a few months later, only to be restored back. No announcement, no nothing, only hearsay from people who have experienced it. Exactly the same thing is happening here. So, things keep changing here on daily basis, without even you realizing it. I really wish and pray that transfer from labor category to a professional one is possible, by the time your papers get processed. In the meantime, if I get some "authentic" information, rest assured that it will appear first in this blog. Good luck!

Expatguru said...

Aravinth,

Please read this

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2008/11/noc-required-again-for-indians.html

Micper said...

Dear EG,
Thanks for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualikum,
i would be very grateful if my query is answered.

I came to saudi arabia on a personal driver visa on an assurance that it will changed but now i doubt that it will.
i am working as an engineer here and now want to call my family.
my question is that
can one change the status of this visa to an engineer visa.
secondly if i go back on an exit with a proper NOC. can i come back on a different status visa like engineer since i heard that it is a bit difficult to come on a different status visa once one comes on a personal driver visa before.
please help me out by replying my query?
Appreciate your help.JAZAKALLAH

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It is impossible to change your profession if you are on a driver visa. If you are an Indian national and you go on exit, you can always return without an NOC. If you are from some other country, please check the waiting period with the Saudi Embassy in your country, because it varies from one nation to the other.

Syed rahman said...

Congrats !

Shahid Khan said...

Hi Expat Guru,

I accidently visited your blog, and was a bit impressed by the recommendations which I do recognise (lived there for more than 25 years) as "WORKABLE" at a place where you will find thousands to brag about, but only few to come up with practical solutions and updated information, due to highly unorganised, complicated official systems, but more organised and simple unofficial systems.

I am providing you information related to my case in a very DETAILED manner, as I will be highly depending on you to make some CRITICAL decisions. Please do let me know if you require few days to gather reliable information in this regard. Please find below details related to the same,

I was born in Jeddah as an Asian Expatriate, and left for U.S. only for few years to pursue my higher studies. During this period, I maintained my Iqama by visiting KSA for Exit Re-Entries and Iqama Renewals. After my graduation, I came back to the Kingdom and joined an advertising agency. My Iqama was transfered to the new company. i.e. from my father's sponsorship to the advertising agency. Also, my profession was changed from "Student" to "Advertising Executive". After 5 years, I resigned from a managerial position to return to my country for the resolution of my family property issues. Meanwhile, I also joined an advertising agency at my home country to keep my career unaffected.

Now, all related property issues have been resolved after 4 years. Due to the fact that I was able to develop very close / personal relationships with my clients, as well as senior managers of other advertising agencies, and remained in contact with them throughout. I have got very RELIABLE positive response from three of them, when I showed them my interest in coming back to Saudi Arabia, due to my excellent track record. However, all three of them (I don't know if it is a coincidence or something to do with prevailing situation) have asked to come to KSA on a transfereable Iqama, and officially apply at their company. From that point, they will take care of the internal matters of their company in order to get me onboard.

After mobilising some of my old contacts, I have now got following options,
1) Acquire a "Labor" visa (already confirmed from the sponsor, but awaiting my response) directly from KSA. and then,
a) Get profession changed to "Adverstising Executive" and transfer the sponsorship to the advertising agency upon arrival to KSA.
b) Get profession changed to "Adverstising Executive" but not transfer sponsorship, as a very close friend of mine arrived KSA on a "computer analyst" visa and then get it changed to "Advertising Executive", and is still working at a very senior position in a reknowned advertising agency for years. He have switched to different companies during these years, and have still maintaining his sposorship through the first sponsor.
2) Acquire a "ABC" professional visa (please recommend as per the prevailing situation), that can be acquired these days as an "Open Visa", from which it is easiest to get profession changed to "Advertising Executive" and transfer sponsorship, as well bring my family to the Kingdom.

Look forward for your sincere guidance.

Khalid Khan

Expatguru said...

Khalid Khan,

Thanks for your comments. The days are dead and gone when you could acquire any visa and get the profession changed. Nowadays, any non-supervisory category visa, in particular labour, electrician, carpenter, painter, etc., cannot even be transferred. So you can simply forget about acquiring any of the open visas and getting them transferred.
Recession has hit Saudi really hard and there aren't many jobs available, atleast right now. If there are jobs, there are no visas available, so that's why all your prospective employers want you to come with a "transferable" visa. The problem is that getting a job is much easier than getting a supervisory category visa. Also note that all white-collared administrative categories are reserved for Saudis.
Due to the stringent instructions, Saudi embassies have been instructed to scrutinize every new application for the relevance of the job. For example, you cannot apply for an engineer's job if you really aren't an engineer, and so have to back up your claim with the relevant certificates.

Shahid Khan said...

Hi EG,

Thanks for understanding the seriousness of the matter and providing a very straight forward reply in this regard.

Just an hour ago, I have talked to a local sponsor (directly) who have claimed that he currently have a visa (already issued) of "Building Electrician" which lies in the category of a professional visa, transfereable, and entitled for a family visa.

However, I would prefer to rely on your advise in this regard, especially related to category, transfer & family visa entitlement.

Warm Regards,

Khalid Khan

Expatguru said...

Khalid Khan,

If your employer says that an electrician's visa is transferable and can bring a family, then he is taking you for a ride.

Shahid Khan said...

Hi EG,

This in reference to your aforesaid response dated March 4, 2009 11:07 AM .

In your "Types of visas" section, you have replied to Suhaib on January 23, 2009 11:04 AM that " Your category is a building electrician. This is a transferable visa........"

Well, don't take it wrong, as I do believe that there is a strong possibility of an isolated case of misreading "Building Electrician" as only "Electrician", when one is replying to hundreds a day with such authentic and reliable information, while maintaining full time job responsibilities. Other possibility for your response could be a recent change in policy in KSA. Please confirm.

I have discontinued the negotiatations with that sponsor, as per your advise and further probing into the same, accordingly.

Your comments "if there are jobs, there are no visas available" have also been seconded from multiple sources, as even major companies are getting least favorable response / tough time from the Ministry for the issuance of NEW supervisory category visas, including extraordinary pressure for Saudisation, at the moment.

However, I really do not want to lose the opportunities currently extended through RELIABLE source. I do understand your points clearly regarding change of profession. Please guide me to make the closest shot to finally change profession to "Advertising executive" and get a transfer of sponsorship. Like one would find it more favorable to reach KSA as "technician" and then change profession to "Engineer" through attested degrees.

So for "Account Executive", which profession/s is/are favorable (Salesman, Marketing Executive etc,) which are used from the pool of professions generally used to enter KSA on an OPEN VISA? Ofcourse, you are well aware that these professions are quite limited due to relatively small size / nature of companies / individuals, who are engaged in this unofficial OPEN VISA business. Your advise in this regard would save alot of time and energy by searching for those specific professions only.

I am willing to take some risks, but your guidance will reduce some unnecessary risks, or those ones which are not worth to be taken, as they did for so many others who have acknowledged the same in this blog.

Please be straight forward as always, as your recommendations will be having 85% weightage in finalising my decisions in this regard.

Warm Regards,

Khalid Khan

Expatguru said...

Khalid,

My reference to the electrician's visa is the latest development. Before two months, it was quite possible to transfer the visas freely, but due to unknown reasons, they have stopped the visa transfer of almost all non-supervisory cadre visas. No official announcement, no web link where you can refer, no newspaper clipping - it just happened. It is quite likely that this rule may again change soon, who knows? Take the example of NOC for Indian nationals - within one year the rule was changed 3 times with no announcement. So, I give my views based on what my friends and colleagues have undergone. The problem becomes compounded because no one knows for sure the exact number and description of visa professions which are banned and cannot be transferred, so one has to depend solely on the experiences of people who have submitted their applications for a visa transfer.

One thing is clear, going by the trend, that if your visa is of a supervisory category, you have a better chance of getting it transferred. The downside is that you must back it up with a corresponding qualification certificate which will be verified by the Saudi embassy in your country.

Anonymous said...

I just want to ask you something. I am an expatriate working in Saudi Arabia. My wife is in India. I am planning to perform Hajj this year with my wife. My wife is in India and I tried many times to get family visa, I failed. Now I am planning to travel with my wife to perform Haj from India. I will go from here after having 6 months exit reentry. Recently Govt of India said that passport is mandatory for hajj piligrims too. So what shall I do?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

The best solution is to ask your wife to come directly with a group to perform Haj. You can meet her at an appointed place and both of you can perform Haj together. I can't think of any other solution. The other way is to bring her on a visit visa, but then there is a risk that she may not be allowed to perform Haj (as legally visit visa people are not allowed to perform Haj, but still some people do - this totally depends on the mood of the policeman at the checkpost and is not guaranteed).

Anonymous said...

Hi Expat Guru,

I am from Russia and would like to work as a prostitute in KSA.

Please tell me which profession should I seek for to legally carry on my profession in KSA.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It hardly matters. Only thing is be ready to be lashed publicly followed by public beheadment.

Inconel said...

Dear Guru,

My visa and Iqama was valid till January 2009.But due to some other reason I left K.S.A on May 2008 with 6 month re-entry validity (ie,exit with re-entry). Unfortunately I was not in a position to return.Mean time I went to Qatar for a short mission on business visa.At present I have a good opportunity in saudi arabia.Is it safe to return now?If not how long I have to wait? Till todaty 9 months gone after my exit from saudi arabia.Can I go back to saudi arabia after next three months?How we have to calculate the one year ban?from departure onwards or from re-entry expiry date onwards?Now I am totally confused and no one is capable to give right information regarding this(Some one saying ban is for 1.5 years). I hope you can help me by using your vast experience.

Expatguru said...

Inconel,

It depends on your nationality. If you are an Indian citizen, you do not need an NOC. Since you left on an exit/reentry, you can return 1 year after your iqama has expired. If you are a non-Indian, please check with your country's embassy whether the NOC-not-required-rule has been implemented or not. If not, you can return only 2 years after expiry of your iqama.

Inconel said...

Dear Guru,

Thanks a lot for your valuable information.

akram said...

Hi Expatguru,

you are doing gr8 job.....I have one qts?.... Last 5 years I m working in riyadh (saudi arabia)....I have Independent Visa....My Visa profession is House driver....Basically i m a web designer......Now i m working in a good IT company as website designer....My company providing me a New Visa....Visa type is (computer programmer or system analyst).....But problem is that My graduation is Bachlor in arts (BA)...and subject is ecomics and English Ltt.......I talk to Man power supplier in India (delhi)....he told me that you are not able......

So please help me whcih type of visa easy for me. and which type visa is easy to get for my company.

Thanks

Expatguru said...

Akram,

It is impossible to transfer your visa from driver profession to any other profession. The only way is to go on exit and return on a fresh visa.