Legal developments

Nitaqat counts 60-year-old expats as two employees

Saudization is the colloquial term used to refer to Saudi Arabia’s official government policy of encouraging the employment of Saudi Arabian nationals in the private sector. The policy of Saudization is enforced and implemented through several programmes and regulations in Saudi Arabia, including the Nitaqat Program – which categorises employers according to the industry in which they operate, then ranks them on a colour-coded scale according to the ratio of their Saudi employees versus expatriates.

The Nitaqat Program is now counting any expatriate employee over the age of 60 as two expatriate employees. However, certain professionals are exempt from this regulation – including investors and professors and lecturers. Furthermore, medical professionals, such as doctors, are exempt. However, pharmacists and medical technicians are not exempt. This recent development further highlights the need for all employers to develop a sustainable Saudization plan.

Saudi Gazette – 9 October 2016

Capital market developments

Aramco's listing target is 2018

As part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, Saudi Aramco plans to list less than five per cent of its shares in the stock market. Aramco has set 2018 as a target for the anticipated listing. We will continue to monitor this as the listing continues to develop.

Arab News – 27 September 2016

CMA considers amending the procedures and instructions of listed companies

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) is considering amending the instructions and procedures related to listed companies with accumulated losses reaching 50 per cent or more of their capital in line with the new Companies Law. The CMA's consideration is linked to its meeting with members of the Board of Directors and executive managers of joint listed companies whose losses reached 50 per cent or more to discuss the existing procedures. The amended instructions and procedures will be announced once approved by the CMA Board.

Saudi Gazette – 29 September 2016

CMA's right to intervene in eight cases

As we have mentioned in previous insights , the CMA approved foreign investment in the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, Tadawul, by allowing foreign investors to directly buy and sell shares under the Rules for Qualified Foreign Financial Institutions Investment in Listed Shares (the QFI Rules). The QFI Rules were amended in May 2016, and again in August 2016.

This month, the CMA has stressed the recent changes which highlight the CMA's authority to request any licensed QFI to provide the CMA with any documents or information, as well as the CMA’s authority to intervene in any of the following cases:

  1. if QFIs fail to fulfil conditions, commitments and requirements mentioned in the QFI Rules, or fail to do so within 60 days from the date of registration;
  2. if QFIs become insolvent;
  3. if QFIs violate any of the commitments stated in the regulations and executive bylaws or any other regulations in Saudi Arabia;
  4. if QFIs obtain registration on the basis of incomplete, ambiguous, incorrect or misleading information;
  5. if QFIs have faced regulatory or legal penalties in any country;
  6. if QFIs introduce any structural changes; and
  7. any other case that the CMA deems necessary for protecting investors in Saudi Arabia's financial market.

Saudi Gazette – 2 October 2016