Saudi Arabia: Labour Market Testing Period Extended

Effective immediately, job advertisements posted by employers on the Taqat jobs portal must remain posted for at least 45 days, up from the previous 14-day requirement, unless a suitable candidate has been identified earlier, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.

The labour market verification period was extended to increase an employer's chances of finding an appropriate Saudi candidate.

Saudi Arabia: Labour market testing now required for work authorisation process

Employers in the private sector must complete a labour market test to obtain block visas, effective immediately.

The new requirement is expected to complicate and add several weeks to the overall work authorisation process. Obtaining a block visa is the first stage of the work authorisation process, and is mandatory for all employers seeking to hire foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia.

META: Annual mobility spending across the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey to top $185 billion in 2019, says IDC

Annual spending on mobility across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) is expected to reach $185 billion by 2019, according to IDC's new 'Mobility Spending Guide'. This represents a 10.2% share of worldwide enterprise and consumer spending on mobile devices, software, and services, which is forecast to total $1.8 trillion in 2019.

Saudi Arabia: Stricter fines implemented for overstaying visitors

Visitor visa holders who overstay their legal status and their sponsors will now be subject to more severe penalties, including higher fines, imprisonment and deportation, according to an announcement by the General Directorate of Passports.

Saudi Arabia: Visa overstays subject to even stricter penalties

Notorious for imposing harsh penalties on foreigners who overstay their visas, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) declared an amended campaign to deter those who overstay the allotted duration of their visas. While foreigners have always been subject to harsh fines, imprisonment and deportation, the recent announcement provided even harsher penalties then were seen before.

Saudi Arabia: Expats to get new IDs when renewing Iqamas

The new identity cards to be issued for expatriates starting October 15 will not be compulsory for those whose current Iqamas (residence permits) have not yet expired, according to the director general of the Passports Department (Jawazat).

“The expatriates whose residence permits are still valid do not have to replace them with the new identity cards,” Maj. Gen. Solaiman Al-Yahya said.

He said the carriers of valid residence permits can continue to use them until the time for their renewal has come. The new ID will be valid for five years. It will be renewed online every year.

Saudi Arabia Ejar system ‘fails’ as rents continue to rise

It has been three years since the launch of the electronic portal “Ejar,” but citizens and residents continue to face the problems of skyrocketing rents for houses.

The Ministry of Housing has also failed to provide housing units to thousands of citizens in all regions of the country, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.

Ejar was launched with much enthusiasm on June 27, 2012. The ministry had claimed it would find comprehensive solutions to problems pertaining to the housing sector, control manipulation in prices and establish a just and fair relationship between tenants and landlords. It had also promised that there would be a balance between demand and supply.

New Resident Identity Card to replace Iqama in Saudi Arabia

Starting October 14, 2015, a new Resident Identity Card will replace the existing card, also known as Iqama, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Interior. The new card, called Muqeem, will provide work and residency authorization and is expected to be valid for five years (instead of the Iqama’s one-year validity), renewable electronically every year.

Personal data recorded on the card will include the applicant’s photograph, name, nationality, religion, occupation, work permit number and employer’s name (if applicable).

Additionally, effective immediately, company representatives no longer have to collect Iqamas in person, as original cards are now sent to a company’s PO Box. New Resident Identity Cards will be delivered to residents in the same way.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals should benefit from the longer validity period of the Muqeem. There are no other practical differences between the two cards at this time.

Company representatives no longer have to visit the Immigration Office to obtain and renew residency permits.


Courtesy of Fragomen.