As per an estimate arrived at in July 2010, total population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was 25,731,776, which includes a figure of approximately 5,576,076 non-Saudi nationals. As far back as in 1950, population of the Kingdom is estimated to have been as small as 3 million. The Kingdom’s ethnic composition comprises 90% nationals with an Arab origin, along with a small minority of Afro-Asians that account for the remaining 10%. Although, today over 95% of the indigenous Saudis are properly settled in large urban and rural conglomerations throughout the Kingdom, mainly on account of unparalleled economic and industrial growth; to the 1960s, a considerably vast majority of the local population was overwhelmingly of a nomadic nature.
Although, relevant laws for its abolishment were officially enacted in 1962, slavery continued to remain an enigma even as late as in the early 60s; with a population that has been estimated at around 300,000 nationals in slave bondage. These are essential points for the Saudi visa application.
Today, Arabic is termed as the official language in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while the three predominant variants of the Arabic language commonly used by the Saudi Arabians are: Nejdi version of the language spoken by around 8 million Saudis; Hejazi version of the language spoken by around 6 million Saudis; and the Persian Gulf version of the language spoken by around 1.5 million Saudis. Quite understandably, among the large communities of expatriates who live in the Kingdom, each one distinctly speaks a language that is common to a particular culture as well as country to which each of one of them respective belongs. Among languages commonly used by expatriates, who hold a Saudi Arabian visa, include: Malayalam, used by around a million expats; Tagalog, used by around 700,000 expats; Urdu or Hindi, used by around 380,000 expats; and the Egyptian version of Arabic, used by around 300,000 expats.
Foreigners residing on a Saudi Arabian visa make up 31% of its population; comprising: 1.3 million Indians, 900,000 Pakistanis and Egyptians each, 800,000 Yemenis, 500,000 Bangladeshis and Filipinos each, 350,000 Sri Lankans, 260,000 Palestinians/Jordanians, 250,000 Indonesians and Sudanese each, and 100,000 Syrians and Turks each. The around 100,000 Westerners mainly live in gated or compounded communities.
In 1990-91, 800,000 Yemenis were expelled. Due to Arab League restrictions, Palestinians living in the Kingdom are restrained from holding, or even applying for, Saudi citizenship. They hence form the single foreign group unable to avail the benefit of a Ministerial law passed in 2004 that entitles expatriates from various nationality, residing in the country for over 10 years, to apply for citizenship; whereby priority given to those holding degrees in diverse scientific fields. The Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System, Articles 12.4 & 14.1 may be interpreted to require that applicants are essentially Muslims.
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