Neom Job Posting Points to E-Visa Program For Saudi Project

Neom e visas

Skift Take

Neom is a massive $500 billion development in Saudi Arabia, which potentially could have its own laws.

A job ad posted by Neom suggests the Saudi development could be working on its own e-visa program for travelers and residents. Neom is a flagship project from the Saudi Arabian crown prince – a $500 billion development.

The posting is for a senior manager of visas and immigration. It lists several core responsibilities, including: “Overseeing the issuance and publishing of visa and residency and work permit information, policies, and processes on the Neom e-visa system.”

The senior manager will also be tasked with ensuring Neom “has in place a flexible and inviting visa and immigration system that creates conditions for hiring the best global talent and for being a destination of choice for visitors.”

The destination’s visa department is headed by Edward J. Palmer, the director of visas and immigration. Prior to Neom, he worked with immigration services major Fragomen and VFS Global. He was also deputy director of visa services – UK visas and immigration for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Neom did not respond to Skift’s request for comment.

E-Visas in Saudi Arabia

In 2019, Saudi Arabia opened for international tourism for the first time. The Gulf capital launched with e-visas for 49 countries and has continued to expand that number since. Today, it is for 63 countries. Easing entry into Saudi Arabia is of utmost importance for the country to achieve its Vision 2030 to attract 150 million travelers by the end of the decade.

Since its inception, it has been speculated Neom could be autonomous from wider Saudi.

“Neom is meant to be a model where this region will be a semi-independent free zone, it will have its own laws, it will have its own regulations and its own authority as a semi-government,” said Neom CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said in 2021 at an online conference hosted by Nikkei, the Japanese media group. “The reason for this is because it is our vision to make this the most competitive free zone in the world,” he said.

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