Saudi Arabia is currently studying the possibility of granting expat investors in the country "Green Cards", Saudi Gazette reported

In a statement he made in a recent interview, Fahad Al-Skeit, Head of the Local Content and Private Sector Development Unit at the Council of Economic Affairs and Development and Advisor to the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, said the decision would officially be announced once approved. 

Though he did not elaborate further, Al-Skeit's statement comes after Vice Chairman of the Shoura Council Financial Committee, Fahad Bin Juma, shared details on who would be eligible for such a card. 

Bin Juma said a person's eligibility for the document would be "determined by a number of entities topped by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment". 

He also added that "in order to meet the eligibility criteria, applicants must possess scientific skills or professional qualities that are not abundantly available in the Kingdom, or they should be company owners who can invest in the country". 

Al-Skeit noted that the decision to approve green cards would come as part of a grand privatization plan which is essential to achieving the kingdom's Vision 2030.

The kingdom has been opening way for foreign investment under Vision 2030

In the past few years, SAGIA's Chairman, Majid Al-Qasabi, has been pushing for a more flexible approach to foreign investment. 

More recently, other officials and entities in the country have joined him in doing the same under Vision 2030

The ambitious blueprint aims to diversify the country's economy and reduce its reliance on the domestic oil industry.

Greater foreign investment is seen as an essential part of the vision.

Foreign investors now allowed to take full control of firms in the kingdom

Earlier this year, the kingdom's Commerce and Investment Ministry, and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), officially decided to allow 100 percent foreign ownership in Saudi Arabia's engineering sector. 

Under the new order, engineering firm owners "can expect 100 percent foreign ownership, previously limited to 75 percent; no requirement for a Saudi citizen to be a shareholder; and limited liability incorporation".

Foreign companies who wish to apply for full ownership of firms in the kingdom "must have a 10-year track record in operations and must already have a presence in at least four other countries." 

Health and education sectors are now also open to full foreign ownership

In 2017, Saudi Arabia also passed a decision to allow full foreign ownership in its health and education sectors. 

At the time, Ebrahim Al Omar, governor of SAGIA, explained that full ownership in both sectors "is something new for Saudi".

“We are opening up education centers to have ownership 100 percent, all types of education even from primary school," he said. 

In the health sector, the ministry will “just be a regulator and not a service provider anymore", he added.

According to Al Omar, the latest move will open up investment opportunities worth up to $180 billion over the next five years. 

Though he didn't specify when the decision would go into effect at the time, experts believe it is set to be implemented very soon.