What Happened: The Saudi Cabinet has approved a significant change to its residency system to allow expatriates to apply for a one-year residency permit without requiring a local sponsor, Arab News reported May 14.
Why It Matters: The change to Saudi Arabia's residency system is intended to attract more professionals and investors to the kingdom and ease restrictions on foreign residents, which will be necessary if Riyadh wishes to pursue its plan of emulating other successful Gulf states, such as the United Arab Emirates.
Background: The Cabinet was expected to give its assent to the measure after the Shura Council approved the change last week. The United Arab Emirates recently established a system that allows expatriates to apply for a 10-year residence permit.
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