• Companies are required to ensure that a minimum percentage of their workforce is composed of Libyan nationals; this percentage varies from 30% to 75%
  • Certain jobs are reserved for Libyan nationals
  • Female employees are entitled to 14 weeks' paid maternity leave, which is extended to 16 weeks for employees with more than one child
  • There is a minimum wage in Libya which has recently been increased, though employers tend to offer more
  • Unlike many other jurisdictions in the Middle East, Libyan labour law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion and colour
  • Expatriate employees, who are not covered by the social security fund, are entitled to end of service gratuity payments

Saudi Arabia

  • Employment of nationals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is strongly encouraged. Employers with low levels of Saudi employees will have difficulties hiring foreign staff
  • Contracts for KSA nationals may be for a fixed or unlimited period. Contracts for non-KSA nationals must always be for a fixed term, usually linked to the validity of the work permit
  • The KSA Labour Law contains an exhaustive list of reasons for termination without notice, or the requirement to pay end of service gratuity. Otherwise, an employee may make a claim for unfair dismissal, for which damages are assessed based on a statutory calculation
  • 2015 saw the introduction of some amendments to the KSA Labour Law which came into effect on 18 October 2015 and the introduction of new fines to support the enforcement of those amendments


  • Labour and Immigration Laws in Qatar are intrinsically linked such that a consideration of one without the other is impractical, especially when considering the recruitment and deployment of staff
  • The rules regarding exit permits and permission to transfer employment have been relaxed by the New Immigration Law
  • Qatarisation initiatives are becoming increasingly popular with a focus on building for the future and certain sectors, including banking and finance, have specific quotas
  • Amid global scrutiny, the Labour Law has enshrined minimum working conditions which employers are now obliged to provide and maintain

United Arab Emirates

  • Employment laws have been developed to manage a UAE and expatriate workforce, with Emiratisation quotas, work permits and residence visas for expatriates
  • A number of ministerial resolutions have been implemented recently to boost the employment of the local Emerati population, both in the public and private sectors
  • 2016 saw a revamp in the standard form employment contracts issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and material changes to the structure of limited term employment contracts with respect to circumstances in which such contracts may be terminated
  • On termination of employment, expatriate employees with at least one year's service are usually entitled to a gratuity payment, calculated by reference to their length of service

Published in collaboration with L&E Global: an alliance of employers’ counsel worldwide

To view the full publication: An international guide to employment law across 28 countries, please click here