The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has recently been authorised to grant engineering consultancy licences, signalling a relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Effectively, this means that 100-percent non-KSA owned consultants can now apply for engineering consultancy licences in the Kingdom.
This recent development shows the Kingdom's appetite and willingness to attract quality foreign expertise in an area which many commentators expect to boom as new infrastructure is built under the Vision 2030 strategy. We expect that the development will result in increased market entry from high-profile international consultancy businesses, whilst also encouraging existing businesses already operating in the Kingdom to further strengthen their on-the-ground presence.
Whilst complete details on implementation remain to be seen, it is clear that the KSA authorities are seeking to attract international engineering consultancy firms with significant and varied experience (e.g. 10 years of experience in at least four countries), with the likely increased participation by such firms leading to research and development spending, knowledge transfer and the creation of quality employment opportunities for KSA nationals within the Kingdom's economy.