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To be a citizen

To be a citizen

Expatriates who've been granted Saudi citizenship speak of the pros and cons of being 'counterfeit' nationals, reports Arab News.


July 30, 2009 7:46 by

Others see great advantages in becoming Saudi nationals. “You can enroll your children in any government school,” said Umm Yaseen. “The standard of education is definitely not bad. As far as competition is concerned, there is competition everywhere. The most important thing is you can start your own business.”

Opening a business in Saudi Arabia, however, can be expensive including Saudi Arabia. “You need a lot of cash. Something as simple as getting a commercial business registration takes thousands of riyals,” said Hasan Abdullah.

“People may think just becoming a Saudi is enough to start a business or own property. The problem is that both sides are unaware of the challenges the other faces. Saudis are unaware of the problems expatriates face, and expatriates are unaware of the difficulties that Saudis encounter in their day-to-day lives.”

“Both have different sets of problems. Because expatriates have to endure iqama renewals and other such problems, they think becoming a Saudi solves them all. That is certainly not the case.” In some ways, being a Saudi has its own set of unique challenges – perhaps tougher than some expatriates face.

“Getting a decent education for their children and setting up businesses for them or helping them land a job … all demand huge resources,” said Amin Mohammad, a Saudi of Syrian origin. “It’s very, very tough. It is not as if once you become a Saudi you are given a tree that bears nothing but riyals.”

First seen in Arab News.

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1 Comment

  1. Andy on August 2, 2009 8:19 am

    The issue of foreigners becoming Saudis also has a different angle as the “genuine” Saudis will keep looking at the naturalized Saudi as if he is still a foreigner. You just don’t become a Saudi by acquiring a Saudi passport. In their eyes, you will remain a foreigner. Maybe these attitudes have their roots in tribal society thinking patterns.


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