Are you considering freelancing in Saudi Arabia? Do you want to experience the benefits of living in a completely different culture? Keep on reading to get a grasp of the general work climate and job prospects. We will also deal with workers and experts in demand at the moment. And finally, we will lay out what you can expect based on your area of expertise.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is economically and culturally very influential in the Gulf Region. Saudi Arabia has experienced a significant influx of foreign workers and visitors. This has been especially true since the 1970s when it started exporting oil on a large scale. It has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Some estimations point to around a quarter of the world’s oil and gas reserves to be here. It is no wonder then that this country is an attractive market for contract workers and freelancers worldwide.
In case of a job offer in Saudi Arabia, or relocation to another city, you must hire a reliable moving company. Most expatriates who come to work in Saudi Arabia do not know the language, local culture, prices, and other important information. So you need moving companies such as fourwinds-ksa.com, which do business transparently. They send exclusively experienced crews on the field and offer various services to their customers – from packing and warehouse renting to freight shipping.
General working conditions for foreigners in Saudi Arabia
We will delineate the general working conditions for foreign workers. Hopefully, we will provide a clearer picture of the work climate and general employment conditions in Saudi Arabia.
Signing a contract
In most cases, people who are not Saudi Arabia citizens sign the employment contract in their own country. This document should enlist the conditions and all the necessary legal and administrative details. However, once you enter the country, you must formalize the contract and sign the Arabic version. Although verbal agreements are a viable option, it would be preferable to have a transparent, legitimate contract that ensures job safety. Either way, Saudi Arabian labor laws apply to your professional activities and legal status with or without an official agreement.
Most contracts are valid for two years, although it has been possible to sign an agreement on an open-ended basis in recent years. Nevertheless, the employer can terminate the contract within a notice period of 1-3 months or provide financial compensation instead of notice. This can happen if they find that the employee does not meet the grade. Although these procedures are slightly stricter than regulations present in other countries, some remain in Saudi Arabia for many years.
Salaries and working hours in Saudi Arabia
Salaries are generally equal to or greater than the standard wage in Western countries. It makes freelancing in Saudi Arabia particularly attractive for people from the region and beyond. Depending on the position and company, your typical work week can last from 40 to 48 hours. However, during Ramadan, workdays are shorter. They are six hours long because of daytime fasting.
Non-Muslim employees may find it odd that Friday is the day off in Muslim countries. Therefore, companies run by Saudi Arabians usually do not work on Thursdays or Saturdays also.
Expatriates must take a medical examination approved by the government to get or extend a work visa (usually every three years). It checks general health and fitness but focuses on finding infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS. In case the test for HIV is positive, your employment in Saudi Arabia will not be possible.
Freelancing in Saudi Arabia
Now that you know some of the requirements for working in Saudi Arabia, we will address the freelancing jobs most often in demand. As you may notice, it is not that easy to get and maintain an ‘in-person’ position. For some occupations, freelancing is more appropriate than having an open-ended or temporary contract.
Note that a large number of foreign workers already work here on short-term contracts. Therefore, it is not advisable to travel to Saudi Arabia, hoping to find a temporary or casual job on the spot. For this reason, it is best if you directly contact employers or companies looking for freelancers and external associates.
Freelancing writers and English teachers in Saudi Arabia
Most of the native population earns money within the oil industry. The rest is in the service sector. So, Saudi Arabia is ‘fertile ground’ for professionals in the creative industry – most prominently English proofreaders, copywriters, content writers, writers for the advertisement industry. If you have considerable experience in the given fields, it may be useful to check which content writing companies with headquarters in Saudi Arabia are looking for new employees.
However, freelance writing is typically a remote type of job. As every freelance writer knows, the fastest way to find a job is through connections. Enquire whether there is a need for a consummate writer or proofreader. Most natives in Saudi Arabia do not speak English at a proficient level required for these jobs.
Finally, there are many international educational institutions for expat children hiring professionals specialized in writing in English. So, if you are considering freelancing in Saudi Arabia and this kind of work is right up your ally, this is a fantastic opportunity. Also, most English teachers here come from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. So it is worth noting that there is a growing demand for native and native-like English teachers. This is due to the burgeoning airline industry and tourist and services sectors, especially in Dubai and other popular tourist locations.