Saudi Arabia’s Labour and Social Development Minister has issued a Decision cancelling the yellow band under the Nitaqat system. All companies which fell under this band will now be transferred to the red band. The Decision will come into force on 28 December 2019. The aim is to encourage businesses to increase Saudisation rates.
Kuwait’s health ministry and the Health Assurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman) have started work to prepare a plan to implement new health insurance fees on expats by the beginning of 2020, according to official sources. The new fee would be KD 130 per expat working in the private sector and the same for each of their dependents. The sources said the new fee will cover medical and radiology tests and treatment. However, the new law does not specify who will be responsible for providing visitors with healthcare, but paying for healthcare of dependents will be the responsibility of the company the expat is registered with. The health ministry is expected to fully support insurance hospitals as part of its plan to force expats to receive medical treatment in private hospitals and leave public hospitals for citizens. Nonetheless, public hospitals are expected in exceptional circumstances to treat expats in emergency cases for specific fees which will be determined in related ministerial decisions.
Following an agreement between Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and Dubai Free Zone Council, a golden residency visa system for expatriates is going to be introduced. It will be launched as part of the ‘Be Part of Dubai’ initiative. As part of the agreement, the three organisations will work together to identify priority investment sectors in Dubai, in line with the Emirate’s income diversification targets. They will also work together to familiarise businesspeople with the opportunities available in key economic sectors, as well as with the incentives offered to foreign investors in Dubai. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Global Business Forum Africa 2019 in Dubai.
Bahrain’s First High Criminal Court issued verdicts in the case of six suspects found guilty of joining a terrorist group and attempting an explosion. They were also charged with acquiring and possessing explosives without a license, and training on the making of explosives. Five were sentenced to life in prison and the sixth was jailed for five years. They were each fined 500 Dinars and the items were seized. They had received money, advice and materials from abroad and had attempted to blow up a bank ATM but the device failed.
Oman’s Public Authority of Consumer Protection (PACP) has called on consumers to file complaints if they notice price manipulations in discount offers. There have been recent reports of so called discount prices being quoted which represent the real value of the goods in the market and another larger price is stated as the value of the goods before the discount was applied which is incorrect. The Commission has stated that it follows up on such complaints and will issue directions to violating institutions. Consumers are being asked to send the name of the shop and details of their complaints. Oman Sultani Decree No. 66/2014 and its executive regulation issued by Oman Decree No. 77/2017 under Article 36, when making discounts on the prices of goods and services, a supplier must obtain the approval of the relevant authority after coordination with the Authority, to ascertain the prices in accordance with the regulations determined by the Authority, provide a list of the number of goods available for each type of discounts and declare the sale price before and during the period of discounts for each commodity in a clear manner which is readable and provide the percentage of discount. In addition, it will cost 200 Rials to issue or renew a license for glasses shop in Muscat Governorate, 3000 Rials to renew a license of a private hospital in Muscat Governorate and 500 Rials to renew a license of a private clinic.
Kuwait’s Trade and Industry Minister has issued a Decision including regulations for mobile vehicles. The Ministry said the Decision sets out five conditions for mobile vehicles operation including establishing a sole trader enterprise or a company with limited liability to operate mobile vehicles. The person establishing the company should be a natural person with Kuwaiti citizenship. The manager should be Kuwaiti and the number of vehicles shouldn’t exceed one vehicle for pensioners and two for those who operate them under Section 5 of the Social Insurance Law or those who work in the civil sector according to Section 3 of the Social Insurance Law.
The Qatari Interior Ministry has announced the National Address Law (Qatar Law No. 24/2017) will be implemented soon. The Ministry added the relevant procedural and operational steps needed to implement the law have already been completed. The Law is part of an e-Government and digitisation strategy. When it is implemented, nationals and residents will have to register their addresses via the Metrash2 application or at any of the Interior Ministry centres in the country.
Every citizen or expatriate or their legal representatives will have to register their residential address, land telephone number, mobile number, email, employer address for Government and private sector employees and permanent address abroad. The guardians of minors will have to register them and verify the data is correct.
The Dubai International Financial Centre’s Intellectual Property Law has been enacted. It will enable entities to protect their intellectual property rights and safely innovate. DIFC Law No. 4/2019 has been enacted by Dubai’s Ruler. It covers patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings as well as copyrights, trademarks, trade names and trade secrets in line with international treaties and best practices. It also recognises UAE registered trademarks, patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings as well as the rights afforded to each type of intellectual property right and the limitations to the protection.
In addition, ownership of patents and copyrights in employment relations are recognised and a new Commissioner of Intellectual Property position is created. They will be responsible for administering the Law, resolving disputes and imposing fines as well as sanctions and remedies for intellectual property infringements. The Commissioner of Intellectual Property will also have jurisdiction before the DIFC Courts in infringement cases.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have announced they have completed the first Blockchain transaction. It involved the financing of an international trade transaction between the Saudi British Bank and HSBC. The transaction related to shipping standardised aluminum billets from Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminum Corporation (TALCO). TALCO issued a Letter of Credit (LC) on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system. The system enables information to be traced and tracked as it moves between parties. As it keeps all stakeholders in the loop, it reduces the need for reconciliation and speeds up transactions, while providing visibility on progress for all of the relevant parties.
New visa rules for tourists looking to visit Oman have been announced by the Oman Royal Police. Under the new rules, those looking to travel to the Sultanate will have to apply for an e-visa. It will cost 50 AED. It will be valid for up to four weeks and could be extended for another week. They can be applied for online and applications will be approved in up to four days. The new system offers unsponsored and sponsored tourist visas; tourist visas for GCC residents and express visas. The families of residents, their drivers, housemaids and companions can also use the system providing they have at least three months remaining on their passports.