Animal abuse in KSA could lead to a fine of up to SR400,000

Torturing animals could lead to a SR400,000 fine. (SPA)
Updated 24 July 2017
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Animal abuse in KSA could lead to a fine of up to SR400,000

JEDDAH: A spate of videos depicting people abusing animals has prompted Ahmed Al-Bouq, director general of Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif, to issue a warning that torturing animals could lead to a SR400,000 fine.
Following the posting of graphic videos on WhatsApp, SnapChat and Twitter, Al-Bouq said such incidents are rare and uncharacteristic and committed by individuals who lack religious and moral values. He said that regulations in the Kingdom, as well as in other GCC countries, govern human behavior toward animals. He urged Saudis and expatriates to demonstrate kindness to all animals, including wildlife, dogs, cats, chickens, camels and cows.
He said regulations were once enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture, but currently fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. The ministry’s enforcement arm applies penalties to animal abusers.
He said cases of animal abuse are isolated incidents and do not reflect Saudi society’s values, which are dictated by deep religious principles, fear of God and rejection of abuse of animals by any means.
“Such cases are rare; what makes them visible and widespread is social media,” said Al-Bouq, adding that such behavior is exhibited by people who are ignorant and lack knowledge of the proper values that characterize the Saudi society, including having compassion for camels, horses, sheep and other animals.
“The regulation subjects offenders and animal abusers to clearly defined penalties and, in some cases, offenders may be taken to court for appropriate penal action,” he said.
Rifal Al-Rashidi, a member of the "Hurairah" animal rescue group, said be believes the fine is an important step to reduce the number of animal abuse cases in Saudi Arabia.
“In the beginning, animal abuse videos started among small groups of people, and now this phenomenon has started to grow among our youths, unfortunately,” Al-Rashidi said.
Fame and lack of strict sanctions against this group of people are the primary reasons behind abusers’ actions, according to Al-Rashidi.
“Save a Life” is an animal rescue group based in Jeddah, which has 50 active members. Isra Muhib, a member of the Save a Life group, said the fine is not enough to deter violators from abusing animals.
“Saudi society is going through a revolution in terms of animal welfare, if we compare it to the old days,” Muhib said. “People are more aware nowadays, and we can find pets in many houses.”


Rights and benefits of the Saudi ‘Green Card’

The Kingdom is continuing its development and reform plans within Vision 2030 to develop its economy and enhance the attractiveness of its investment environment. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2019
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Rights and benefits of the Saudi ‘Green Card’

  • New visa move will allow residents and expatriates to play a more active role in Saudi economy
  • Media reports suggest the "Privileged Iqama" could cost as much as SR800,000 for a long-term version or SR100,000 for the one-year version

JEDDAH: The Um Al-Qura newspaper, the official gazette of the Saudi government, has published new information concerning the laws and regulations of the Privileged Iqama, widely known as the Saudi “Green Card.” It also carried the conditions under which the Iqama can be canceled.
Following the announcement of the Saudi Cabinet’s approval of the Privileged Iqama residency permit, as previously reported by Arab News, the new information offers a further look at the Privileged Resident Permit (iqama) scheme.
The iqama was first proposed in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was approved by the Cabinet last week. It will for the first time allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor.
The scheme will enable expatriates to permanently reside, own property and invest in the Kingdom. An authorized draft of the new Privileged Iqama system offers a number of benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds that will not require a Saudi sponsor.
A special committee has been given 90 days to determine regulations governing the mechanisms of the scheme, such as fees for applicants, which have not been yet determined by the authorities.
Fahad bin Juma, vice chairman of the Shoura Council Financial Committee said that eligibility for the Saudi Green Card will be determined by a number of bodies headed by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, as reported by Al-Watan newspaper.
He also added that in order to be eligible, applicants must possess scientific or professional skills that are not abundantly available in the Kingdom, or they should be company owners who can invest in the country.
The holder of the Privileged Iqama will be deemed resident for the purpose of applying other statutory provisions, especially tax provisions, regardless of how much time he spends outside the Kingdom in the course of the year.
The applicant must be over 21 years of age, must have a valid passport, must not have a criminal record, and must provide a health report dated within 6 months of the application presenting proof that the applicant is free of infectious diseases. In the case of applications from within the Kingdom, the applicant must obtain a legal resident permit before applying.
The Privilege Iqama rights include possession of private means of transport and any other movable properties that an expat is allowed to acquire as per the Saudi law, employment in private sector establishments and transfer between them (this includes the beneficiary’s family members) except for occupations and jobs from which non-Saudi nationals are banned. The rights also include freedom to leave the Kingdom and return to it independently, use of the queues designated for Saudi nationals when entering and exiting the Kingdom through its ports, and doing business under the foreign investment system.
Under the system, two categories are provided to applicants, an extended iqama and temporary iqama subject to renewal.
Upon approval of the application, according to Article 5, the applicant must pay the fees specified by the designated authorities; the holder will be deemed resident for the purpose of applying other statutory requirements, especially the tax provisions, regardless of how much time he spends outside the Kingdom in the course of the year.
The Privileged Iqama does not entitle the holder to Saudi citizenship.
The holder of the Privileged Iqama, will enjoy several rights, including residence in Saudi Arabia with his family, the right to issue visitor’s visas for relatives as defined by the MOI regulations, the recruitment of domestic workers, the possession of property for residential, commercial and industrial purposes with the exclusion of Makkah, Madinah and border areas as per the regulations. The holder will also be able to utilize property in Makkah and Madinah for a period not exceeding 99 years.
The Ministries of Justice and Commerce and Investment shall establish the necessary mechanisms to ensure the beneficiary’s access to an instrument of utilization issued by the Notary Public. This right will be enforceable by transfer to others according to the rules set by the committee.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, said that the Privilege Iqama law approved by the Saudi Cabinet confirms that the Kingdom is continuing its development and reform plans in accordance with Vision 2030 to develop its economy and enhance the attractiveness of its investment environment.
The Privilege Iqama aims to make residents and expatriates an active part of the Saudi economy, promote consumption growth by increasing quality purchasing power and economic activity in various sectors, establish more small and medium enterprises, and generate jobs for Saudi citizens.
The Privileged Iqama can be canceled if the holder did not comply with the obligations stipulated in Article 7 of the law, waivered his residency, and/or passed away or was no longer eligible.
Several matters could lead to the cancelation of the Iqama, such as providing false information in the application, a conviction for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding 60 days and/or a fine exceeding SR100,000, or a judicial decision to deport the holder from the Kingdom.
The cancelation or termination of the Privilege Iqama does not entail the transfer of the rights and benefits, obtained in accordance with Article 2 of the law, to the holder’s family. However, if a family member met the conditions of this law and its regulations, he may apply for the Privileged Iqama.
In the event of the cancelation or termination of the holder’s Iqama or any of his family members, the Privilege Iqama Center will, in coordination with the designated authorities, consider and remedy any consequences that may result therefrom in accordance with the law and its regulations.