Browsing: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia lifts ban on internet calling applications

Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications on Wednesday, authorities said, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship. Voice and video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype will be ‘widely available to users’, a government statement said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at improving business confidence as the kingdom transitions into a post-oil era. “Access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will reduce operational costs and spur digital entrepreneurship,” the statement said, citing a directive from the communications and technology ministry. “Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivise the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries.” Alongside the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar in June, in the worst diplomatic crisis to roil the Gulf in years. “The recent cooperation…

Saudi Arabia
Eleven Indians killed, six injured in Saudi Arabia fire

Eleven Indians were killed and five others injured on Wednesday when a major fire ripped through a windowless house in Saudi Arabia. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi said officials of Indian consulate in Jeddah are rushing to Najran following the incident. “I am aware of the fire tragedy in Najran in which we have lost 10 Indian nationals and six injured are in the hospital,” she said in a tweet. I am aware of the fire tragedy in Najran in which we have lost 10 Indian nationals and six injured are in the hospital. /1 https://t.co/feOTqPnn2E — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 12, 2017 Her response came after a woman, Vidya S, sought the external affairs minister’s help to bring back the mortal remains of one of those killed in the incident. “I have spoken to Consul General Jeddah. Najran is 900 Kms from Jeddah. Our staff is…

Saudi Arabia
Expats in Saudi Arabia hit with new fees as they leave for vacation

Expats in Saudi Arabia going on vacation with their families in this peak holiday season felt the pinch of the new dependent fee, which came into force on Saturday, when they tried to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for family members. Those who wanted to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for their family members were prompted by the online payment system to first clear the dependent fee for the remaining months of the validity of their iqamas (residence permits), Saudi Gazette has reported. From Saturday evening till Sunday morning, the online payment system was displaying only exit-reentry fees. But hours later it started displaying complete and accurately calculated amount of dependent fee based on the validity of iqama against each dependent. The payment of dependent fee is not only directly linked with the renewal of iqama but also the issuance of exit-reentry visa, whichever comes first. The exit-reentry process can…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi King appoints Mohammad Bin Salman as Crown Prince

Saudi king Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has named his 31-year-old son Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud as the Crown Prince, replacing his cousin in a sudden announcement that confirms him as next ruler of the kingdom. According to a royal decree issued by the official Saudi Press Agency, Mohammed bin Salman was also named deputy prime minister, and maintains his post as minister of defence. The appointment of Mohammed bin Salman caps a tumultuous two years since Salman, 81, ascended the throne and named Mohammed bin Salman deputy crown prince, or second in line to the throne. Mohammad Bin Nayef pledges allegience to new crown prince Former Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 57, has pledged allegiance to the newly-appointed Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran law enforcer well-regarded in the west for his efforts to combat Al-Qaeda,…

Saudi Arabia
Indian expat set to return home after 24 years in Saudi desert

A 52-year-old Indian national, who has been living in the deserts of Saudi Arabia illegally for 23 years, will soon return to India after the government announced a 90-day amnesty period, according to a media report. Gana Prakasam Rajamariyan came to Saudi Arabia in August 1994 to work as a farm-hand in a remote village in Hail province. Rajamariyan, hailing from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, said he was paid only 100 Saudi Riyal a month for six months by his first employer. He was then “transferred” to another employer and a third a few months later. He spent 23 years in the desert, without going home once, a Saudi Gazette report said. “Of the three employers, I was not sure which one was my sponsor. Above all, I did not receive any salary from them, so I decided to abscond and live illegally out of compulsion,” the newspaper quoted Rajamariyan…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia to start collecting expat tax from next month

Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will be collecting a new tax from expatriates and their dependents, a move that is seen to boost the country’s revenues amid weak oil prices. As per the details announced last December, there would be two kinds of taxes: Fee on dependents of expatriates, and Fee on companies employing expatriates Fee on dependents of expatriates The fee on dependents of expatriate workers will be levied from July of 2017, in order to minimize impact on families with children enrolled in school. From July 2017, dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR100 From July 2018, dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR200 From July 2019, dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR300 From July 2020, dependents of expats will each incur a monthly fee of SR400 Fee on companies employing expatriates Companies in Saudi Arabia…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia cancels operating license of Qatar Airways, closes all offices

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday revoked the operating licence of Qatar Airways and ordered the airline’s offices to close within 48 hours, state media reported, as a regional diplomatic crisis escalated. “The General Authority of Civil Aviation has decided to cancel all licences granted to Qatar Airways and to close all of its offices in the kingdom within 48 hours,” a statement carried by the official SPA news agency said. “We urge all passengers who purchased tickets to or from Qatar to check the airline website or contact their travel agent online for a refund,” the statement said. “The decision comes on the basis of a statement issued by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the severing of diplomatic and consular relations with the State of Qatar and in reference to a circular issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation on Monday banning all Qatari airlines and…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi public sector to get rid of all expatriate workers by 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Civil Service has asked all ministries and government departments to get rid of all expatriate workers within three years, Saudi Gazette has reported Deputy minister Abdullah Al-Melfi as having said. The ministry said that there were 70,000 expats in the public sector at the end of last year. “There will be no expatriate workers in the government after 2020,” the minister reportedly told a meeting on Monday. “The complete nationalization of government jobs is an important objective of the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Malfi said. The deputy minister said the achievement of NTP and Vision 2030 entails the cooperation of all ministries and government departments. The meeting, which focused on the Saudization plan by 2020, was followed by a workshop titled “Job nationalization.” The workshop began with a detailed report about the present situation of the Saudization process followed by a…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia to hire only locals at shopping malls

Saudi Arabia’s labor minister issued an order on Thursday to restrict employment in shopping malls to Saudi nationals, who currently make up only one in five staff in the retail sector. The kingdom has been steadily closing off different areas of employment to foreigners, who comprise about a third of the population, as it aims to create jobs for young Saudis and cut the unemployment rate among nationals. A statement from the minister for labor and social development, posted on Twitter, defined malls as “closed commercial centers,” but did not elaborate on the number of jobs affected or a timeline for implementation. According to the Vision 2030 economic reform plan released last year, the Saudi retail sector currently employs 1.5 million workers, of whom only 300,000 are Saudis. The plan calls for a million new jobs for Saudis in the sector by 2020.  Published on 21 April 2017

Saudi Arabia
4870 Indians return from Saudi after job-related issues: Govt

As many as 4,870 Indian workers have returned from Saudi Arabia after facing job-related difficulties, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday. Replying to a written question, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said presently, a section of Indian workers facing difficulties in two major Saudi companies – Saudi Oger and the Saad Group – are being brought back to India in cooperation with the Saudi authorities. “The process is nearing completion and 4,870 Indian workers have returned so far,” he said. He also noted that the Saudi authorities have extended necessary support to the affected Indian workers of these companies including in waiver of fines on ‘Iqama’ (resident permit) related violations, providing exit visas and one way return tickets to India as well as transfer of sponsorship, wherever possible, on gratis basis. The government has also put in place a few foreign employers in ‘Prior Approval…

1 2 3 8