However, the majority of contract and freelance appointments are made outside Saudi Arabia, and it’s rarely possible to arrive in Saudi Arabia without a job and find one locally. Many expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia are contracted either on a fixed-term contract (usually a year) or for a particular project, but many sub-contracted workers have managed to stay in the region for a number of years, having first arrived on a single, one-off, short-term contract. Work visas are still required, and it’s often a matter of who you know rather than what you know. But you’re helped by the fact that the expatriate community is close-knit and newcomers are sometimes surprised by the amount of help they’re offered.
Temporary & Casual Work
Owing to the number of expatriate workers on short-term contracts, there isn’t much casual and temporary work available, and you shouldn’t travel to Saudi Arabia with the purpose of finding temporary or casual work.
Temporary and casual work might be available in the following areas:
- office administration, secretarial work and work in recruitment agencies;
- retail work during the height of the tourist season;
- bar staff in restaurants and nightclubs*;
- various jobs in ports such as crewing or making deliveries;
- nursing, for those with the qualifications;
- courier services with international companies;
- driving for companies offering desert tours.
* Note that there are also ‘vacancies’ for women to act as hostesses in nightclubs; this work involves talking to male customers and encouraging them to run up large bar bills.
Temporary jobs tend to be advertised in English-language newspapers, on club notice boards and occasionally with recruitment agencies.
Trainees & Work Experience
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is active in helping Saudis to find employment. As a result, expatriates trying to obtain access to traineeships or work experience are unlikely to be successful. A well placed individual in a company may be able to find you a temporary position, but in general it isn’t worth pursuing.