Living in Saudi Arabia
Life is generally more private in the Kingdom. Malls, parks, beaches etc. are all there, and social gatherings of families are permitted, but there are a lot of restrictions especially for foreigners. You are not allowed to mingle with members of the opposite sex in most places including educational institutions unless it’s a family member or you’re both out on a family outing. A religious police team called Mutawwa'een or Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice actively discourages the mixing together of the sexes for any activities. Saudis are courteous if not friendly with expatriates. There are the occasional groups of young vandals and hooligans, but no more than that. Petty crimes such as theft are rare due to the harsh penalties.
There are no theaters and public performances of any kind including music are banned. Shopping is a major pastime for the people of KSA. Malls, shopping centers etc. generally stay open from mid afternoon to just after midnight. A typical family outing involves a couple of hours of shopping followed by a late dinner outside. There are many international cuisine restaurants including Western, South Asian etc. and Arab too in the major cities.
Politics in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. The head of the state and the Government is the King. The royal family dominates the political system. The King, belongs to the royal family and the position is hereditary. The first kind of Saudi Arabia was Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Being a monarchy, there are no elections in Saudi Arabia and the citizens do not have the right to choose or peacefully change the Government of the country.
Saudi Arabia does not have a legally binding written constitution. The country follows the Islamic law or the Sharia law.
Expats living in Saudi Arabia must always follow the country’s rules and traditions strictly, as people there take these things very seriously. Expats living in Saudi Arabia are given a residency card, Iqama. You must carry it with you at all times. If you don’t have it, it is advisable to carry your passport with you all the time.
Economy in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy which is the largest in the Arab world. There is strong government control over major economic activities. Saudi Arabia possesses 18% of the world's proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum. It has played a leading role in OPEC for many years. Almost all of the Saudi government revenues and earnings through export are accounted for by the petroleum sector. Saudi oil reserves are the second largest in the world, and Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil exporter and second largest producer. Roughly 92.5% of Saudi budget revenues, 97% of export earnings, and 55% of GDP is accounted for by the petroleum sector.
Buying or renting property in Saudi Arabia
Foreigners are allowed to own real estate in Saudi Arabia either for business or residency, subject to approval of the licensing authority. However, foreign ownership is forbidden in Mecca and Medina, except through inheritance, Non-Saudi Muslims are can obtain leases of up to two years in these cities. Leases are renewable for the same period. If on the other hand you prefer flexibility in your life or are a short-term expat, perhaps staying in the country for only a few years, renting accommodation may suit your lifestyle rather than the stability of having your own house.
Visa and Immigration Saudi Arabia
Writer Relocations provides visa and immigration services for Saudi Arabia and many other countries across the globe. You can get in touch with our executives for further assistance.
Schools in Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, the state education system is largely poorly administered by Western standards. Saudi public schools are open only to the children of locals and naturalized Arabs, so expat children can’t enroll. There are a number of international schools in Saudi Arabia which offer diverse curricula. Expats either send their children to a private international school or send them to boarding school back in their home country. Some of the international schools are governed by embassies, while others are privately run and host multiple curricula under a single roof. Boys and girls are segregated in Saudi public schools whereas international schools are usually co-educational. The school year starts from September and runs till June, and is normally divided into two or three semesters, depending on the school. The school week is from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being the weekend.
Weather in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has with the exception of the province of Asir on the western coast, a desert climate characterized by extreme heat during the day, followed by a sudden drop in temperature at night, and very low annual rainfall. There is considerable variation in temperature and humidity because of the influence of a subtropical high-pressure system. There are differences in climate between the coastal areas and the interior. The summer temperature is on average about 45° C, but readings of up to 54° C are not unusual. It becomes intensely hot shortly after sunrise and this lasts until sunset, followed by surprisingly cool nights.
Check the current weather of Saudi Arabia here.
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