Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship to a group of expats that includes doctors, clerics and professors, making it the second Gulf Arab state to do so this year.
The declaration comes after a royal decree was published last Thursday that offers citizenship to ‘experts and extraordinary worldwide talents’ who would help the kingdom expand as part of its ambitious reform goals, the state news agency, SPA, reported.
Foreigners in Saudi Arabia often hold renewable visas that are related to job and are only valid for a few years.
The naturalisation initiative will seek out individuals in Islamic scholarship, health, science, culture, sports and technology with the purpose of cultivating and retaining extraordinary talent to assist realise the goals of Vision 2030.
Vision 2030 is a set of measures aimed at creating jobs and reducing Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil.
The group that was just naturalised includes Muslim clerics who supported of King Salman’s religious tolerance programmes, financial specialists, medical doctors, and academicians who specialise in engineering, chemistry, and communications, according to local news sources on Monday.