To attract bright minds to the Saudi community, Saudi Arabia has approved granting citizenship to scientists, doctors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other individuals with rare skills, experience, and specializations. This aims to bolster its economic, health, cultural, sports, and innovation sectors.

The move is a significant change in direction for a country whose economy relies heavily on expatriates, for whom residency is typically contingent on their employment visas. 

“The announcement is made in line with the issued Royal decree to grant Saudi citizenships to experts and exceptional global talents with unique competencies in religious, medical, scientific, cultural, sports, and technological fields, contributing to the development of various sectors throughout the kingdom, and in support of achieving its Vision 2030 goal, of creating an attractive environment that enables attracting, investing in and retaining exceptional creative minds,” noted Saudi Press Agency.

The initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program to create an attractive environment for investing in human capital and attracting skilled labor.

In 2021, Saudi leadership approved a similar initiative, granting citizenship to prominent individuals in these fields. This ongoing effort has underscored the kingdom’s commitment to enhancing its development across various sectors by leveraging global expertise.

In June, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, Khalid Al Falih, mentioned that Vision 2030, the country’s plan to diversify the economy and reduce its reliance on oil, was “more than halfway through.” Providing citizenship to such talents further enables the diversification of Saudi’s economy. 

In a major first, in 2021, the UAE started offering citizenship to select foreigners and professionals, including investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists, talents, intellectuals, artists, and their families, under certain conditions, for economic gains.