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HANDBOOK FOR
SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK
EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES
IN THE KINGDOM OF
SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

Disclaimer
The contents of this Handbook are for information
purposes only.  The information and opinions
expressed in this Handbook do not constitute legal
advice and should not be regarded as a substitute
for legal advice or a comprehensive statement of law
or current practice.  Immigration rules/ requirements
and labor practices frequently change without
notice.  No liability is therefore accepted for the
opinions contained or for any errors, omissions or
commissions.

4

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

5

Table of Contents

01
Page:

14

Introduction

2.2
Page:

02
Page:

Saudi Arabia

16

2.3
Page:

Language

Population

2.5

2.6

Page:

16

Economy

2.8
Page:

Time Zone

6

15

Page:

17

Page:

International
Dialing Code

Page:

15

16

2.4
Page:

16

The Government

16

2.7
Page:

16

Income tax

17

03
Page:

Page:

21

4.13
Page:

22

Orientation Program
for other workers

4.2.2
Page:

23

SLBFE has specified
the fee payable to
the Recruitment Agency

18

Your decision to seek
employment in KSA
The beginning of a
new chapter in your life

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

04

Once the decision
has been taken for
Employment
in KSA

Geography

Currency

2.9

2.1

07
Page:

29

Your arrival in KSA

4.1
Page:

21

Sri Lanka Bureau of
Foreign Employment
(SLBFE)

4.13
Page:

22

Benefits and Services
offered by SLBFE

05
Page:

24

Pre-employment
formalities

08
Page:

32

Residence permit
(Iqama) & work license

4.12
Page:

22

Pre-departure training
for domestic sector
female housekeepers
and care givers

4.2
Page:

23

Recruitment Agencies

06
Page:

28

Travel to and from
Saudi Arabia

09
Page:

33

Sri Lankan Embassy
in Riyadh (SLEMB) and
the Consulate General
Office in Jeddah (CGO)
A Home Away from
Home

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

7

10
Page:

34

Retention of Passport
by Kafeel (Sponsor)

13
Page:

37

Saudi labour laws
applicable
to other categories of
employees

16
Page:

40

Economy

19
Page:

Dress Code

11

Page:

34

Family Visas

14
Page:

Page:

39

40

Remittance

41

20
Page:

Page:

35

Your rights and
obligations
Domestic labour

Conflicts at work

17

12
15
Page:

39

Ministry of Interior

18
Page:

41

Prayer Times

41

Some Dos
and Don’ts in KSA

21
Page:

43

Final Exit

Annexures;
1) List of Major Industrial Cities in KSA.
2) Minimum Qualification & Experience for Different Sectors/Departments.
8

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

9

Message from
His Excellency
the Sri Lankan
Ambassador to
the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia

On behalf of both the Embassy in Riyadh
and the Consulate-General in Jeddah, it
is my honour and privilege to issue this
Message for our Handbook designed for
the benefit of our Sri Lankan community
in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as
well as our friends back home who are
exploring employment opportunities in
KSA. You are our most valued asset and
your wellbeing and success is our main
focus.
Sri Lanka values its strong ties with
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on many
fronts such as Trade & Commerce, Travel & Tourism, cultural
activities and last but not the least, Sri Lanka’s talent supply
to the thriving Saudi economy. Currently, over 182,000 fellow
Sri Lankans are employed spanning across all regions of KSA,
earning many plaudits for their exemplary work ethics, superior
job performance and impeccable trustworthiness. In return,
they have achieved economic prosperity, skill enhancement and
exposure to advanced technology.
This Handbook provides a brief outline on KSA’s demographics,
rights and obligations of the employers/employees and some
Dos and Don’ts. If you need any further information or any
assistance please feel free to contact us.
We invite your feedback on the contents of this Handbook, as
well as any other observations that you may have.
Good Luck and best wishes for a rewarding and satisfying career
in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Azmi Thassim
Ambassador – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

10

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

11

Executive Summary
Handbook for the Sri Lankan expatriates, is a project initiated
and driven by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(SLEMB).
This product is one of the projects developed by the Human
Capital Steering Committee (HCSC) in alignment of the VISION
2020 Mandate under the scrutiny of SLEMB.
The Handbook is mainly developed to provide information for
those who seeking employment opportunities in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
This Handbook contains information about Saudi culture, important pre entry requirements, country rules & regulations, Do’s
and Don’ts as an employee/resident and religious/cultural beliefs/sensitivities etc.
Further, the details of training facilities, scholarships available in
Sri Lanka prior to securing employment in KSA could be included will be included in our future editions.
This Handbook will be reviewed and updated every 6 months,
with the most current information to enable the readers to gain
maximum benefit.

12

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

13

1. Introduction

2. Saudi Arabia

1.1. This Handbook has been produced to provide basic information and guidance about working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to fellow citizens who may be interested in
seeking employment in KSA. The information in this handbook will assist you in deciding whether working in KSA is
appropriate for your circumstances.

Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
(KSA), means different things to different people. For millions of
followers of Islam across the world, it is the birth place of Islam
and home to Islam’s two holiest shrines (Masjids/Mosques) located in Mecca and Medina. For a large number of expatriates it
is a land of opportunities. For the rest of the world, Saudi Arabia
means “OIL” – the lifeline of present and future economies.

1.2. Saudi Arabia has the largest known oil reserves in the Middle
East and is the largest oil producer in the Middle East. It is
known to have mineral deposits of value but these have not
been exploited as the oil output is sufficient to maintain the
economy.

Map of the KSA with the major cities in each province

1.3. At present the economy relies in the main on receipts from
the sale of oil, however the KSA Government has recently
launched an initiative named VISION 2030, aimed at diversifying the economy amongst other goals.
1.4. The KSA economy relies heavily on expatriate labour to sustain itself and this situation is unlikely to change in the short
term. Therefore there are plenty of opportunities for expatriates to obtain lucrative and fulfilling employment. This is
particularly so in the skilled and professional sectors.
1.5. KSA is an excellent place to live and work and families in particular will benefit from being here. The reality on the ground
in KSA is at complete variance with the negative image of
KSA portrayed in the press and elsewhere. Expatriates and
their families are able to enjoy a high standard of living in a
safe environment.
1.6. KSA like any other country has it’s own laws, customs and
culture and once you understand them you will find no difficulty in abiding by them. There has been a significant and
noticeable loosening of the rules and regulations and adapting to them is much easier than it was 20 years ago.

14

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

2.1. Geography

Saudi Arabia is an Arab sovereign state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. 2.1 Million SQ KMs in
extent, KSA is the 13th largest country in the world. It has boundaries with Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen
and UAE. It borders the Persian Gulf on the East and the Red
Sea on the West. Most of the land is sparsely populated dessert
with a number of large population centres. Air travel is the most
common form of travel between population centres due to the
distances involved. Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with extremely high day-time temperatures and a sharp temperature
drop at night. Average summer temperatures are around 45 °C,
but can be as high as 54°C. The winter period lasts about three
months. During this period the average day time temperatures
hover around 10°C but the temperature rarely drops below 0 °C.

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

15

2.2. Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken, however all the government institutions largely use Arabic as their
mode of communication.

2.3. Population

The population is approximately 28 million and is concentrated in a
wide area across the middle of the peninsula, from Dammam in the
east, through Riyadh in the interior, to Mecca-Medina in the west.

2.4. The Government
2.4.1.

The capital city is Riyadh.

2.4.2.

KSA has been ruled by the Al-Saud dynasty since its
foundation. The present ruler is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ascended the throne in 2015.

2.4.3.

The country is divided into 13 administrative divisions.
KSA is governed by the Islamic (Sharia) legal system.

The KSA government has recently introduced a Dependents Visa
Fee and the details of this are included later in the Handbook.

2.8. Time Zone

KSA’s time zone is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
It is 2.5 hours behind Sri Lankan time zone. For example, if the
Sri Lankan time is 9.00 am, it is 6.30 am in the KSA.

2.9. International Dialing Code
+966

2.5. Economy

KSA ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum and possesses
about 16% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves. The country is also blessed with other natural resources such as natural
gas, iron ore, gold and copper. KSA encourages the growth of
the private sector. Of over Eleven million foreign workers, about
182,000 are Sri Lankan workers playing an important role in the
Saudi economy. In the face of the current low oil prices, KSA
government’s diversification efforts are praiseworthy.

2.6.

Currency

2.7.

Income tax

The currency is Saudi Riyal (SAR) which is made up of 100 halalah. Presently, it is fixed at SAR 3.75 per US Dollar.

At present, all employee earnings are free from income tax and there
are no restrictions placed on the remittance of employee earnings.

16

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
)AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA

HANDBOOK FOR SRI LANKAN EXPATRIATES
AND THOSE WHO SEEK EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

17


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