Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia Update - December 2015

Last Updated: 31 December 2015
Article by Amgad T. Husein and Anas A. Akel

Legal Developments

MoCI warns unlicensed real estate valuators

The MoCI warned practitioners of real estate valuation from carrying on their profession without obtaining a temporary membership from the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers (the Authority) authorizing them to do so. This is a step towards implementing the Ministerial Resolution No. 531 regulating the transition phase for the carrying on of the profession of real estate valuation. Accordingly, each practitioner must obtain a temporary membership from the Authority before 31 December 2015. The temporary membership will enable members to provide valuation services to courts, financial institutions and banks for the purpose of real estate financing and for restoration of rights in cases of attachment, execution, distribution of inheritance, acquisition and merger.

The MoCI website – 17 November 2015

Wage Protection System covers 5.6 million workers

As we described in previous Updates, under Saudi Arabia's Wage Protection System (WPS) implemented by the Ministry of Labor (MoL), private sector businesses in Saudi Arabia are required to electronically submit employee wage information to a database maintained by the MoL and, further, to deposit and pay employee salaries solely through in-Kingdom banks.

The WPS has been implemented in phases, beginning with the largest firms with 3,000 employees or more. On 1 November, the WPS entered its ninth stage to cover all businesses with 100 employees or more and, on 1 February 2016, the WPS will enter a tenth stage to cover all businesses with 11 employees or more.

The MoL announced that 5.6 million workers in 12,550 private companies are covered by the WPS. The ninth stage had been successfully completed to ensure the workers' rights, reducing labor problems and building a healthy work environment that supports higher productivity. 

Arab News – 23 November 2015

Data entry jobs exclusive for Saudis

The Ministry of Labor (MoL) plans to ensure that data entry jobs in eight sectors of the economy are exclusive for Saudis over the next two years. The eight sectors are:

  • tourism, which covers hotels, furnished apartments and resorts;
  • car rental firms;
  • gold and jewellery shops;
  • transportation services;
  • transportation of vehicles;
  • rental of properties;
  • sports centers; and 
  • scrap yards.

A member of the human resources committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and head of human resources at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah say there are currently 6,000 vacant data entry jobs in both the public and private sectors, which would likely increase to 40,000 jobs over the next five years.

Arab News – 27 November 2015

Increase the number of Saudi engineers

In order to raise the employment of Saudi engineers in the private sector, the Minister of Labor asked engineering companies to record a 30 per cent rate of Saudization in pursuance of the Nitaqat program. Students in the engineering colleges will have access to training programs provided by engineering companies to improve their qualifications and increase their opportunities to get jobs after graduating from universities.

Arab News – 7 December 2015 

Nitaqat 3 to look into wage disparities

The Ministry of Labor (MoL) has announced that the new Nitaqat 3 program will launch soon and will be looking into the wage disparities between Saudi employees and their non-Saudi counterparts and the positions Saudis occupy in Saudi Arabia. The Minister of Labor, Mufrej Al Haqbani, said that fake and unproductive Saudization in the Saudization process led the MoL to compare the salaries of Saudis in companies and their non-Saudi colleagues. The MoL is looking to increase the employment of Saudi women and have them take on leading and pioneering positions in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Gazette – 14 December 2015

Banking and Finance Developments

VAT soon to be Implemented in the GCC 

Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have reached initial agreement on certain aspects of the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime that will be implemented in the GCC over the next two years or so. The VAT will be designed to ensure that it does not impact food products, healthcare and education.

Saudi Gazette – 12 December 2015 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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