We routinely tell people applying for staff-level positions
in Saudi Arabia (and other gulf countries) that, if you are married, you cannot
bring your spouse with you. And even if you were able to
obtain special permission to bring your spouse, the hospital
would not pay for visa costs, relocation airfare, housing
costs, healthcare, etc., for a spouse or children.
Therefore, we were recently surprised to receive the
following query posted to our website:
I AM A CANADIAN NURSE WITH A CONTRACT IN JEDDAH, SAUDI
ARABIA. I WILL BE GETTING MARRIED 1 MONTH BEFORE MY CONTRACT
STARTS. THE EMPLOYER STATES THAT I CAN BRING MY HUSBAND BUT
WE WILL HAVE TO FIND OUR OWN ACCOMMODATIONS USING MY ALLOTTED
HOUSING ALLOWANCE. I WILL HAVE TO SUBSIDIZE LIVING COST SOMEWHAT SO IT MAY COST A LITTLE BIT
BUT HAVING MY HUSBAND THERE IS WORTH IT. HE CAN LOOK FOR
WORK WHILE HE IS THERE. I WAS WONDERING WHY YOU SAY THAT
HUSBANDS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON A NURSES SINGLE CONTRACT??
An expansion of our answer:
Generally, Saudi Arabia does not allow expatriate women on a single-status contract (usually staff-level) to
sponsor a visa for their husband or dependents. On the other hand, female physicians and female senior administrators will usually be offered a married-status contract.
If a position is in mid-level clinical management, such as
Nurse Managers, Laboratory Supervisors, etc., men are
offered married-status contracts (which pay for airfare,
housing, healthcare, and children's education for the spouse
and two children); however, women managers are offered single-
Now, if a woman on a single-status contract is, under some
condition, given permission to sponsor her husband and if her husband does not have his own employment contract, she will
certainly face a number of complications, including
financial strain (especially is she has to pay the expensive fees for child education).
So if you call our office inquiring about a position in the
Middle East, two of the first questions we will ask you is
if you are married, and what is your spouse's profession.
If, for example, you are a Registered Nurse and your husband
works as an engineer, we would recommend that he find a
position first, before you considered relocation.
And, referring back to the query posted on our website,
thinking things may have changed, we immediately contacted
the hospital which the nurse said offered her a contract, to
ask if a staff nurse would be able to sponsor her husband.
The answer was no.