SAGIA eases license procedures for foreign investors

Updated 29 March 2016
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SAGIA eases license procedures for foreign investors

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian General Authority (SAGIA) is accelerating the licensing process and offering several flexible ways for entrepreneurs to obtain visas.
SAGIA has introduced several steps aimed at simplifying licensing procedures for foreign companies planning to invest in Saudi Arabia.  
Ayedh Al-Otaibi, director general of System Development and Investment Procedures Administration, said the new steps included expediting the procedure for all kinds of license, reducing them to three requirements and obtaining them in not more than five working days.
SAGIA revealed a number of reforms to ease the investment procedures in the Kingdom, stated Dr. Ayedh.  
Documentation requirements were significantly reduced to 3 simple documents:
1) A board resolution declaring intent of investment in Saudi Arabia;
2) Another resolution outlining the investment plan including its economic impact;
3) A document showing the investor’s financial ability to carry out operations. 
In addition, Ayedh added all foreign investors now enjoy a fast track service to receive investment licenses within a maximum of 5 days.
Investors will also have the option to extend their licenses for up to a 15-year period.
According to the SAGIA press release, the short cyclical nature of the construction sector is viewed by many construction companies as challenging especially in a foreign country.
“To help reduce this risk, we are adopting a series of measures and providing options for foreign investors in this sector to allow for a more sustainable investment,” said the SAGIA official.
This includes having the option of a 3-year license to explore the market and gradually work toward building the organization capabilities.
After this period, the investor has the right to  procure a renewable license after establishing a sustainable entity with a minimum number of personnel, fixed assets and equipment. 
The investor also have the option of applying for a renewable permanent license, provided the applicant submits an undertaking to establish an entity with minimum level of assets and personnel within one year from the date of the license.  
Another option  involves a temporary license for the implementation of specific contracts for specific duration with government or quasi-government agencies where the nature of these projects are characterized as non-frequent.
The fourth option is that of granting a temporary certificate, in lieu of  a classification certificate, for the implementation of onesingle government project provided the applicant conforms to the prescribed regulations and standards.
 
Clear and flexible visa 
options for entrepreneurs
Ayedh also noted: “We have worked with the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to now refine and align ‘investor’and ‘general manager’ visa requirements.”   He added that SAGIA will issue a support letter to issue a visa for “investor” and/or “general manager”, in line with foreign investment and international agreements.
This relates to the visa and does not affect the licensing or Investor ownership as the regulations deal only with investor/general manager visas.
More particularly,  these regulatory measures are related to applying for investors or general manager visa (limited to sole proprietorship, a limited liability company owned wholly or partly by individuals , and the branch of a limited liability foreign company, which is owned in part or whole by individuals), will get support letter for entrepreneurs “investor” visa must conform  to one of the following requirements:
1)  The activities of the entity needs to fall under “innovative activities” with a valid patent used as part of the enterprise products.
2) The entity needs to be an exporter of its products with the condition that the technical specifications of the export products and the method of production must conform to the approved Saudi, GCC or international specifications. 
3) The entity must have a minimum of 50 workers and adhere to Saudi Arabia’s WTO commitment to employ a maximum of 25 percent foreign labor as part of the total workers employed in foreign or joint-venture companies and of these, 10 percent are managers and professionals and 15 percent technicians and workers, or vice versa.
4) The entity’s paid-in capital must not be less than SR37.5 million.
It is important to note that the application of these requirements include existing and future licenses of the entities referred to above. Existing licenses will be granted a lead time of 24 months or the date before the second renewal of the license, whichever comes first, to adapt these conditions.  


Owners will also have the option  to obtain business visit visas in accordance with regulations and international obligations of Saudi Arabia.


Aramco CEO attends China development event

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser meets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the China Development Forum 2019. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 34 min 41 sec ago
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Aramco CEO attends China development event

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser attended the China Development Forum, a three-day event that focused on key issues such as the supply-side structural reform, new measures of proactive fiscal policy, and the opening up of the financial sector and financial stability. 

The Aramco chief met the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the forum. Li expressed his appreciation for Saudi Aramco’s investment in an integrated downstream project in Panjin city in Liaoning, coming right after the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to China in February. 

The exchange also allowed Nasser to briefly outline Aramco’s plans in China including downstream investments in Zhejiang province.