Businesses urge govt to scrap exit/re-entry visa

Updated 27 November 2014
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Businesses urge govt to scrap exit/re-entry visa

Prominent business executives have called on the government to scrap the exit and re-entry visa system, saying it would make Saudi Arabia a more attractive place for foreign investors and skilled foreign workers.
“The system of having exit re-entry visas is creating unnecessary hassle. The Kingdom must seriously consider scrapping this system like in other GCC countries such as Bahrain and the UAE,” said Irshad Cader, a business executive in Jeddah, on Tuesday.
“As long as expats have valid iqamas, they should be able to move freely in and out of the Kingdom. Unless an iqama holder stays away more than six months, he must be allowed to enter the Kingdom without any issues. This will encourage more qualified expats to work in the Kingdom,” he said.
Akbar Batcha, another business executive, welcomed the plan to issue five-year resident permits. He also supported the call to scrap the exit re-entry system, at least for business leaders, investors and professionals who travel abroad frequently.
He said the five-year iqama system would help Saudi Arabia collect a huge amount in fees. “If you multiply SR5,000 by 10 million expats in the Kingdom, it will be a fabulous amount,” he said, adding that the system would encourage expatriates to spend a substantial portion of their earnings in the Kingdom.
“According to one report, foreign remittances of expats rose in the first nine months of this year compared to the previous year. This report should encourage the government to adopt expat-friendly decisions such as the five-year iqama to increase their spending in the Kingdom,” he told Arab News.
Cader also proposed a salary-based sponsorship system so that expatriates who earn a certain minimum monthly income would be eligible to sponsor their families. “For example, an expat who earns a salary of SR10,000 must be allowed to bring his family over irrespective of his profession,” he said.


Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

Updated 18 June 2019
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Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.