According to local newspaper reports, women will be allowed to join the Saudi army for the first time. The Defence Ministry has approved the change which will allow women to enlist in ranks between private soldier to sergeant. They will be able to enlist in the army, air force, navy, air defences, missile forces and medical services. It follows a move last year to allow women to join the security services including drug combat, prisons and criminal investigations.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has announced it will issue the first ever tourist visas in the Kingdom. The visas will cost 300 Riyals with an additional travel insurance cost of 140 Riyals. They will be issued from today to nationals of 49 countries from Europe, Asia and the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
While the dress code requirement for foreign women will be relaxed to remove the requirement for them to wear the abaya robe they will still have to wear ‘modest clothing’. Non-Muslims will also still not to be allowed to visit the Mecca and Madinah and the ban on alcohol will not be lifted.
Historically visas were only issued to pilgrims, business people and expatriate employees. They will be valid for 360 days from their issued date for stays of up to 90 days up to a maximum of 180 days annually.
According to Okaz Saudi Arabia is putting the final touches to a “game changing” initiative to attract international tourists, with a visa scheme which will allow visitors to come to the Kingdom from up to 50 countries. Although not officially confirmed a government an event to showcase Saudi tourist attractions is to take place on 27 September and it is expected the formal launch will happen then. According to Okaz the visas will cost 440 Riyals and last 90-days. It has also been said tourists will be able to apply for these visas online or on arrival in the country.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecutor has announced the first female Public Prosecution Investigators have been appointed. The Public Prosecutor made the announcement at their headquarters. More women are expected to be appointed as public prosecution investigations soon. These employees will have to undertake a full-year diploma course in criminology which includes academic studies and training in the relevant field. They will also have to visit agencies engaged in collecting evidence like forensic experts to find out more about these aspects of the cases.
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.