New requirements to renew Commercial Registration certificate for companies

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is requiring companies to complete three new forms in order to renew or amend their Commercial Registration (CR) certificate. The first form is an "application for amendment or renewal of CR data", which briefly requires the company to fill in basic information such as its name, address, CR number, etc., as well as mentioning the previous data and the new data to be included in the renewal of the CR. The second form is the "CR draft form". In this form, the company is required to fill in the same information as in the original CR but without mentioning the directors of the company. The last form is the "acknowledgment and undertaking", which must be executed by a duly authorised representative of the company.

Shop opening hours law proposal

The Council of Ministers has proposed a new law that would regulate the hours of shops, restaurants and recreation centres. The proposed law seeks to implement the following restrictions:

  • Operating times for most shops would be restricted to the hours of 6.00am to 9.00pm. During Ramadan, closing time would be extended to 2.00am. 
  • Operating times for restaurants and recreation centres would be restricted to the hours of 6.00am until midnight. During holidays, closing time would be extended to 1.00am. Further, during Ramadan, closing time for restaurants would be extended to the call for Fajr prayer.

The proposed law awaits Cabinet approval and, if it is implemented, businesses will have six months to comply.

Arab News, 5 January 2015

New Saudisation requirements

Saudisation is the Saudi Arabian government policy of encouraging the employment of Saudi Arabian nationals in the private sector. It is administered by the Nitaqat programme.

Under the Nitaqat programme, firms are categorised based on the proportion of Saudi Arabian nationals they employ in comparison to the total number of employees. Smaller firms are required to hire a smaller number of Saudi Arabian nationals than are larger firms.

The Council of Ministers passed a law requiring that smaller firms employing nine or fewer foreign workers, without any Saudi Arabian employees, have their electricity cut off.

In addition, the law requires the presentation of a valid Saudisation certificate for the renewal of Commercial Registration certificates and for the issuance of business visit visas for all firms in Saudi Arabia. 

Arab News 6 January 2015

Request for foreign investment in the gas station sector

Saudi authorities have called on foreign investors to assist the gas station sector in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the relevant ministries have noted the shortage of gas stations along the highways running through rural areas in Saudi Arabia. Investors have responded with complaints about the strict conditions imposed by the industry, such as the requirement that gas stations be limited to one café and one eatery. Investors have complained that such regulations make investment in the industry unattractive.

Saudi Gazette, 14 January 2015

New penalties for failing to obey court rulings

The Ministry of Justice announced new penalties for individuals and companies who fail to obey court rulings, after many complaints of judicial leniency. Possible penalties include:

  • a travel ban;
  • inability to sponsor expatriates;
  • suspension of monetary transactions;
  • imprisonment;
  • boycott by all government services; and
  • suspension of bank accounts and dealings with financial institutions.

Failure to obey a court ruling within 20 days will give rise to the possibility of penalties.

Saudi Gazette, 13 January 2015

Expansion of court system in Riyadh

The Ministry of Justice announced that a new project will see the construction of 33 new courts and notary offices in Riyadh within two years. Leaders have cited the project as a way to reduce pressure on the justice system in Riyadh and throughout Saudi Arabia.

Arab News, 13 January 2015

Possible evening shift in government offices

The Control and Investigation Board presented a proposal to extend the operating hours of government offices into the evening by hiring a workforce of evening shift workers in Saudi Arabia. The proposal was presented in a study on ways to reduce work absenteeism and boost employee morale. It is unclear whether the proposal has received any further support.

Arab News, 12 January 2015

Labour market to see increase in Saudi female technicians

In a push to encourage the employment of Saudi nationals and, more specifically, female Saudi nationals, authorities have announced that the next few years will see an influx of over 9,000 trained female technicians in the labour market as graduates of 14 technical training colleges. Authorities also announced plans to construct and operate additional vocational training schools throughout Saudi Arabia in the future.

Arab News, 2 January 2015

New health insurance requirements for visitors

Saudi authorities announced that visitors to Saudi Arabia will soon be required to obtain a valid health insurance certificate for medical coverage. Certain visitors will be excluded from the requirements, including, for example, diplomatic visitors. The premiums are expected to reach no more than SAR 100 (US$26.66) per month. Authorities did not specify when the new measures would be implemented.

Arab News, 1 January 2015

HRDF to study increased Saudisation in real estate, health, food, and retail sectors

The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has announced plans to study ways to increase the employment of Saudi Arabian nationals in firms operating in Saudi Arabia. The HRDF stated that the study will focus on the real estate, health, food, and retail sectors since, the HRDF claims, these sectors offer the greatest opportunity for the large-scale employment of Saudi nationals. The study will focus on measures that can be implemented in addition to the already existing Saudisation initiatives to boost the employment of Saudi nationals in these sectors.

Arab News, 23 December 2014