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Moving to Saudi Arabia: Essential Guide for Healthcare Professionals



​Moving to Saudi Arabia as a healthcare professional can be a life-changing experience. Not only will you explore a fascinating culture and history, but you will also contribute to a rapidly growing healthcare system. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen a tremendous development in its healthcare sector over the years, attracting professionals from around the world.

However, relocating to a new country can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding the local healthcare system, cultural norms, and lifestyle. That is why this essential guide aims to provide healthcare professionals with all the necessary information and tips to make their move to Saudi Arabia as seamless as possible.

Whether you are a doctor, nurse, therapist, or any other healthcare professional, this guide will outline everything you need to know before embarking on your Saudi Arabian adventure. From understanding the necessary qualifications and licensing requirements to exploring the healthcare landscape, we’ve got you covered.


Understanding the Healthcare Landscape in Saudi Arabia

King Fahad Medical Complex

​Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in the healthcare sector over the years, evolving into a leading destination for healthcare professionals around the globe. For those considering a move to Saudi Arabia as a healthcare professional, it is essential to understand the healthcare landscape in this country.

One of the key factors attracting healthcare professionals to Saudi Arabia is the robust healthcare infrastructure. The country’s healthcare system is highly advanced, with a comprehensive network of hospitals, clinics, and medical centers spread across its cities and regions. This infrastructure provides healthcare professionals with ample opportunities to grow their careers and contribute to the development of the sector.

However, it’s important to note that the healthcare landscape in Saudi Arabia does come with its unique challenges. While the country offers excellent medical facilities, there can be cultural and language barriers for expatriate healthcare professionals. Understanding and respecting local customs and traditions is crucial for successful integration into the Saudi healthcare system.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has a strict regulatory framework for healthcare professionals, including licensure requirements. Before moving to the country, healthcare professionals must ensure they meet all the necessary qualifications and obtain the correct documentation.

Licensing and Registration Requirements for Healthcare Professionals

It’s important to understand the licensing and registration requirements you’ll need to meet before practicing in the country.

In Saudi Arabia, healthcare professionals must obtain a license from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS). This regulatory body oversees the qualifications and competency of healthcare professionals in the country. To apply for a license, you’ll need to have a recognised medical or healthcare qualification, along with proof of experience and any necessary certifications.

The application process typically involves submitting your academic and professional documents, along with a copy of your passport, to the SCHS. It’s essential to ensure that your qualifications meet the specific requirements outlined by the commission to avoid any delays or complications in the process.

In addition to licensing, healthcare professionals may also need to complete a registration process with the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH). This step ensures that you are legally permitted to practice within the country. The process usually involves submitting an application and supporting documents, such as your license and proof of qualifications.

At Holistically EU we will give you all the information and support needed for this administrative process.


Navigating Cultural Differences in the Saudi Healthcare System

medical staff KSA

Saudi Arabia has a unique cultural context that can significantly impact the way healthcare professionals practice and interact with patients. Understanding and respecting these cultural differences is essential for providing effective care and building strong patient-professional relationships.
One of the key cultural differences in the Saudi healthcare system is the significance of family involvement in decision-making. In Saudi culture, family members often play an active role in the healthcare process, participating in discussions, and making decisions about treatment options. As a healthcare professional, it is important to engage and involve the patient’s family in the care plan, ensuring that their opinions and desires are considered.
Another important aspect to consider is the conservative nature of the Saudi Arabian society. Modesty and privacy are highly valued, particularly when it comes to gender interactions. Healthcare professionals should be sensitive to cultural norms and preferences, ensuring that they provide care in a manner that respects the modesty and privacy of the patients, particularly when treating individuals of the opposite gender.


Finding Employment Opportunities in the Saudi Healthcare Sector

​The Saudi healthcare sector is rapidly expanding, driven by the government’s push to improve healthcare services for its growing population. This has resulted in a surge in demand for healthcare professionals, creating a wealth of employment opportunities across various sectors.

One of the main areas of growth in the Saudi healthcare sector is in hospitals and medical centers. As the population grows, so does the need for more healthcare facilities. Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in building state-of-the-art hospitals and medical centers, both in major cities and more remote areas. This presents a great opportunity for healthcare professionals looking to work in a modern and well-equipped environment.

The best way to ensure a good position as a nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional, is to contact directly a specialised agency, such as Holistically EU.

Healthcare Insurance and Benefits for Expats in Saudi Arabia

Most expats moving to Saudi Arabia for work are covered by their employer’s healthcare insurance plan. This coverage typically includes medical consultations, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and emergency medical assistance. However, it is essential to carefully review the coverage details to ensure it meets your specific needs.


Settling In: Essential Services and Amenities for New Residents


Beyond healthcare and housing, other amenities to consider include transportation, education, and recreational facilities. Saudi Arabia boasts an extensive network of transportation systems, including public buses, taxis, and ride-hailing services, making it convenient to navigate the city. For those relocating with families, choosing a neighbourhood with reputable international schools and educational institutions is crucial for the well-being and academic development of children. Additionally, exploring the leisure and recreational facilities in the area, such as parks, malls, and fitness centers, can support a well-balanced lifestyle.


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