Recruitment in Saudi Arabia

Recruitment in Saudi Arabia: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Saudi Arabia? 

Between $800 to $1350 per month.


What is the cost of a Work Permit in Saudi Arabia?

$5000 USD.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Saudi Arabia?

Full Iqama takes up to 3 months.

What is the estimated net retention in Saudi Arabia for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?


What is the estimated net retention in Saudi Arabia for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?


Read more about the work permit process.

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Recruitment in Saudi Arabia can be a challenge, but you don’t have to drown in time-consuming admin just to place a candidate. You can simplify complications by using an Umbrella Company (or “contractor management company”), as long as you pick the right one.

Skip ahead to find out how we can help you place candidates faster, or simply read on to find out more about the specific issues you’ll face.

Placing a new contractor in Saudi Arabia: what are the challenges?


Recruiting in Saudi Arabia generally requires a lot of complex admin duties, and contractors might end up paying too much in taxes or failing to comply with Saudi Arabia tax law. It’s important to know what kind of concerns you’ll be facing.

  • Double taxation: Contractors can incur a tax liability in both their home country and in Saudi Arabia. Many countries have agreements that mitigate this type of issue, but whether or not you can take advantage of them will depend on factors like the length of the contractor’s stay, or the laws of the contractor’s home country. You can learn more about double taxation here (note: this info was written with respect to the UK, but the general concepts will still apply).
  • Withholding tax: If a foreign company is used to provide services overseas, the payments made to that company by the Saudi Arabia client could be liable for withholding tax under Saudi Arabia tax law. Find out more about withholding tax.
  • Individual taxation and tax residency: A contractor’s tax liability will often be determined by his or her residency status in their home country and in Saudi Arabia. Figuring out their tax residency can be difficult and is often tied to the length of their stay in Saudi Arabia (or out of their home country). Read more about tax residency and individual tax liability here.
  • Permanent establishment: Most double taxation agreements limit the scope of taxation in the host country by providing that a business is only taxable in another state if it has a permanent establishment in that state. A permanent establishment is a fixed base such as a branch, office, factory, workshop, mine or oil well. To find out how to avoid permanent establishment and unnecessary tax liability, read more about the issue.

Work permits

Contractors will need to find a sponsored work permit, which can be difficult and may seriously slow the placement process. Additionally, they’ll need a new permit for each new contract, spawning even more paperwork.

See our FAQ to find out more about the cost and processing time of Saudi Arabia work permits.

Why use a contractor management company?

An efficient way to manage these problems is to outsource them to a contractor management company. They’ll act as the contractor’s “employer,” handling all of their invoicing, fees, and social security. As Saudi Arabia tax experts, they also help contractors comply with local tax law while maximising the amount they get to keep.

A quicker, better recruitment process: Working with an Umbrella Company means saving time, effort, and resources. Higher earnings and a smoother transition also make contracting a more attractive opportunity, helping you place candidates more quickly and successfully.

Still, you’ll need to find the right company for you and your candidate.

How to find the right Umbrella Company?

Making sense of the optionsFor free, we match contractors with Umbrella Companies and can help dramatically reduce waiting times. There are numerous Umbrella Companies in Saudi Arabia and each has its own specialties, services, and payment structures. Choosing the right one is crucial, but it can be difficult when you’re facing a bunch of unfamiliar options.

We’ve developed an extensive database of these companies. We can guide you through your options and help connect you with the best company for you and the contractor.

Get in touch: If you want straightforward, honest advice on recruitment in Saudi Arabia, we’re easy to contact. Call, e-mail, or chat with us online - for free.

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Work Permits & Payroll - Frequently Asked Questions


What documentation is required for a Saudi Arabia work permit?

Passport, 2 passport photos, certified copies of education certificates, employment contract, police clearance certificate (dependent on nationality).

What is the work permit process in Saudi Arabia?

Local company needs to have an allocation of Iqamas available for the particular skill set, role, nationality and location. If so Local organisation makes the application in Saudi once approved locally candidate must make an application at the Saudi Consulate in their home country.

Can you transfer from a Business Visa to a Work Permit in Saudi Arabia?


Can we organise Business Visas in Saudi Arabia?


How long does it take to process a Business Visa in Saudi Arabia?

14 days.

How much does a Business Visa cost in Saudi Arabia?

$400 USD.

Can nationals of certain countries enter Saudi Arabia without a Business Visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


$5000 USD.

What is the monthly cost to run a local payroll in Saudi Arabia?

 Between $800 to $1350 per month.

How does payroll work in Saudi Arabia?

There is no income tax only a 2% GOSI but all salaries need to be pay-rolled through the Labour Ministry on a particular day each month.