Saudi Arabia’s Labour and Social Development Minister has issued a Decision to Saudise management and specialist jobs in the hospitality sector. It is expected to come into force on 29 December 2019. The Decision means 100% of reservation, purchase, marketing and front desk roles in three, four and five-star hotels, resorts, hotel suites and villas with a four-star or higher rating have to be filled by Saudi nationals. However, the Saudisation requirement does not apply to bellboy, parking valets, drivers or doormen roles. In addition, food and beverages supervisors, room service supervisors, event section supervisors and laundry supervisors should have at least one Saudi employee. At least 70% of sales manager and events and conference sales manager roles must also be filled by Saudi nationals.
The General Authority for Zakat and Income has confirmed that all enterprises registered to pay VAT, which have revenues from goods and services which exceed 40 million Riyals, should submit their tax return for June.
Enterprises with less than 40 million Riyals of revenues should submit their tax return for the second quarter of 2019 nine days after 31 July 2019.
However, the authority has stressed those with over the 40 million Riyals limit must submit their VAT return before the end of July 2019.
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved a Decision allowing shops and restaurants to open 24 hours a day. The Decision has prompted confusion over whether shops will have to close five times a day for daily prayers. Entities wanting to open for 24 hours a day will also have to pay a fee to do so. The Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry will set the fee and state which activities can benefit from the Decision.
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Investment Minister has announced the Franchise and Government Procurement Laws will be issued by the end of August this year. The Shoura Council approved the laws in March. The Franchise Law will govern the relationship between franchisors and franchisees. The Government Procurement Law aims to regulate the procedures related to business and procurement and prevent abuses of power and vested interests.
Saudi Arabia’s Labour and Social Development Ministry has announced the midday working ban in the Kingdom will start on Saturday this week. The Ministry has stressed all private sector companies must comply with the ban which runs until 15 September. It means affected workers cannot work between 12pm and 3pm. However, the Ministry also said there are certain exemptions from this ban including those working in the oil and gas industry and emergency maintenance workers. The necessary procedures should be followed to protect these workers.
According to local newspaper reports, Saudi Arabian authorities have established a joint committee with the UK to introduce a visa-free document to allow Neom investors and employees to move freely between several Red Sea countries including Egypt and Jordan. Holders of this document will also be exempt from specific Saudi legislation. In addition, those who have this document will have visas and residency rights.
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved a new Tobacco License Regulation which will mean cafes and restaurants in the Kingdom will have to pay up to 100,000 Riyals annually to sell tobacco products in their premises and outside them. It is the latest move to tackle smoking in the Kingdom. The Kingdom has signed up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which aims to reduce smoking rates from 12.7 to 5% by 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s Centre for Special Residency Permits is currently working on drafting the Implementing Regulations to the Special Residency Permits Law. The Regulations will include the conditions and procedures for applying for these permits. The Centre will announce details of the Implementing Regulations and how applications from applicants who are already in Saudi Arabia or from abroad will be handled. The aim of the law is to diversify the Saudi economy.
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has approved a draft special residency permits law and has submitted it to the Government to consider. The aim of the law is to provide various benefits to those who hold special residency permits including the right to recruit foreign worker, own property and transport vehicles and obtain visitor permits for family members. There are two types of special residency permit. The first is unlimited while the other is only available for one year but can then be renewed. It is similar to the Green Card system in the US and if approved will mean applicants will not have to have a Saudi sponsor or employer. To be eligible, applicants must have a valid passport with a credit report, a health report and no criminal record.
The Saudi Justice Minister Dr. Walid Al-Samaani has launched the ‘Najiz’ online portal which will cover 177 first instance courts in all regions of the Kingdom.
The portal is part of efforts to unify judicial proceedings, enable digital transformation to the judiciary and speed up the litigation process. It was set after restructuring of procedures were adopted in all Saudi courts and a new judicial procedure system document was issued and digitized.
The portal is being considered a step towards a full digital transformation in all sectors. A service called ‘appeal without transcript’ has been introduced which enables first instance courts to send a case file to the court of appeal electronically in just a few minutes, and automatically receive the court’s reply. Task forces have also been formed to carry out the proceedings of the courts and compare them to legal proceedings, criminal court proceedings and related regulations, and proceedings in other countries.
The portal will be rolled out in four stages, and there will further updates to facilitate services.