Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower has announced it has signed an agreement with the Kuwait Engineers Society which will see visa changes for expatriate engineers introduced. Under the agreement, expatriate engineers will not be able to renew their work permits without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Kuwait Society of Engineers. All engineers will be given a NOC certificate after they have passed a competence test regardless of when they entered the country and how many years they have worked.
The UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law merging the Abu Dhabi Investment Council with the Mubadala Investment Company. The new Fund will have approximately $250 billion in assets. The Mubadala Investment Company’s board of directors will now become the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s board but the Council’s senior leadership will continue to manage the Fund and report to the Mubadala Group CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak.
Weekly Spotlight: A Mechanism for Monitoring and Inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities to be established in Dubai
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in the real estate sector in Dubai, where the Real Estate Regulatory Authority has signed an agreement with the Dubai Economic Development Department. Under the agreement, a mechanism for monitoring and inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities will be established. Under the agreement, the two sides will work together to issue and impose fines on violators of the relevant regulations. The Land Department will provide all of the data and information for proper inspections, supervision and follow-up of licenced real estate facilities to be carried out. It will also provide the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department team with all of the directives, decisions and memorandums issued to real estate companies in Dubai which clarify the relevant regulatory clauses and how they are applied. For its part the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department will organise awareness campaigns about the relevant regulatory requirements.
Elsewhere Dubai’s Municipality Buildings Department has announced it has launched a new industrial building projects system. The aim is to ensure contractors are registered and simplify procedures for owners and customers in this sector. The new system will allow a contractor to design industrial buildings and supervise their implementation without needing to appoint a consultancy office. An awareness campaign about the new system will launch on 26 March.
The Governors of the GCC monetary agencies and Central Banks have agreed to establish a Gulf disbursements company to facilitate money transactions between them. All members have contributed to the company’s capital and are seeking specialist consultations on the payment system. The company will be headquartered in Riyadh and a secondary office will be based in Abu Dhabi. The aim is to provide a quick and safe environment for financial transactions between them.
This week the spotlight is on legal and tax developments in the UAE, where the country’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced it is working on a new system to allow companies to issue or renew Emirates ID cards for their staff electronically. The aim is to migrate 80% of the Authority’s services to smart and digital platforms by December 2018. Under the new system, companies who meet certain criteria will be able to use Authority services to issue ID cards electronically. Companies will have to have over 100 employees and must be licenced by the relevant authorities. They will also have to apply to the Identity and Citizenship Authority to use the system.
The Federal Taxes Authority has also confirmed the provision of a receipt is a fundamental consumer right. The Authority confirmed businesses should provide receipts and should not deduct taxes if have not registered. The Authority also warned fines will be imposed on businesses who deduct tax but refuse to provide consumers with receipts.
Salasah Primary Court has issued a first-of-its-kind community service sentence to a number of defendants. The convicts were sentenced the to sweep and clean roads in Salalah province, in southern Oman. They have been ordered to do this for four hours a day for a month in addition to their original sentence. Article 57 of the new Omani Penal Code allows supplementary penalties, including the commissioning of a social service. Convicts can also be jailed for one month if they do not comply with public service sentences.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Insurance Council has confirmed it is scrapping the individual health insurance system for private sector employees. The Council added employers should provide insurance to employees and their families. This includes spouses, male children under 25 and unmarried daughters. The aim is to transfer responsibility for health insurance from employees to employers, regulate the health insurance market more effectively and eliminate fake insurance.
This week the spotlight is on arbitration developments in the UAE, where the country’s Federal National Council has approved a draft Arbitration Law. The UAE’s judicial authority will now consider the Law before it is considered by the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Court. It is likely the law will be enacted in the second half of this year. Under the draft law, parties will be able to choose the arbitrator they want to hear their case according to its subject, the legal system they wish to govern their case, be it the UAE, UK, Singapore or any other jurisdiction and where it is heard. The law will apply to all arbitrations in the country, provided the parties ‘agree to not be subject to another arbitration law’ and provided the case does not ‘contradict the UAE’s public order and morals’. It is expected to adopt many of the provisions in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, which is a model for international commercial arbitration and has been enacted successfully in many countries. It comes as the numbers of commercial disputes in the country are increasing, according to DIFC Court figures. According to the Courts they handled 520 cases in 2017, with Court of First Instance claims, which include arbitration cases up 17% compared to the previous year, at 54.
Oman’s Royal Police have announced the Sultanate’s new traffic laws have come into force today (1 March). The Police have introduced a black point system from today which will see black points issued against any drivers who violate the new laws. Under the system, motorists who get more than 12 points in a calendar year will have their licences suspended for six months. Drivers who accumulate another 12 points after this in the next year will have their licence confiscated for a year. Those who accumulate 12 points in a third year will see their licence cancelled. They will also have to pay 100 Rials and retake their driving test. Amongst the changes, new drivers will be issued with temporary licences and will have to complete a probation period. Drivers who get more than 10 points in this period will have to take additional lessons. If they get more than seven points in a year they will have their temporary licence extended for a year. Drivers who get up to six points during their probation will be able to obtain a ten-year licence while expatriates will get a two-year licence. Those who get a licence for ten years will only have to renew them after they expire. Seat belts for passengers and child seats for those under four are also now mandatory. There have also been changes to the penalties regime for 52 offences. Fines which have been increased include parking in disabled bays from 10 to 50 Rials and drivers who cover their faces, including women will be increased to 50 Rials.
From 17 June 2018, vehicles in Kuwait will have to meet a new requirement to get their registration issued or renewed. The General Manager of the General Authority for Environment, Dr Mohammed Alahmad made the announcement. In addition to other inspection requirements, vehicles will have to pass an environmental test which means they should meet the environmental standards.