We've noticed both on Twitter, through enquiries on www.contractortaxation.com , calls from recruitment agents and a number of enquiries from clients that are bidding or have won contracts that Saudi Arabia (and the Middle East in general) is currently a serious focus for international companies. Might have something to do with the slow recovery (or even double dip recession) evident in Western Europe and the USA, meaning companies are now looking further afield for clients and projects. A trend we think we'll see more of in the coming years as the balance of economic power shifts slightly.
The increased number of enquiries might also have to do with the Saudi government putting a number of big projects out to tender to international companies. The government is encouraging private sector growth to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil and increase employment opportunities for the swelling Saudi population. The government has begun to permit private sector and foreign investor participation in the power generation and telecom sectors. Riyadh in particular has been able to increase its spending on job training, education and infrastructure.
As a result international companies are increasingly looking at Saudi Arabia as a place to pitch their services. If the bid is successful then the next step is working out how to staff the project. Whether to look at hiring locally to support the staff you have brought in from overseas or to move your staff on mass into Saudi Arabia. Both options bring about their own problems with the foremost among them being how you employ them? It is extremely difficult as a foreign company to open a company in Saudi Arabia (as with most Middle Eastern countries) so the only option is to use a locally based Contractor Management Company. They can sponsor your Work Permits (where necessary) and payroll your staff locally.
The Work Permit process is not cheap! From $2,000 USD upwards (these are largely government charges) something you need to take into consideration. They also charge an ongoing monthly management fee per individual. There are only a small number of companies that are able to provide these services, if you'd like to speak to someone about them http://contractortaxation.com/?q=contact