Arab Women Forum to be held in KSA in partnership with Arab News

Updated 08 March 2018
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Arab Women Forum to be held in KSA in partnership with Arab News

LONDON: Top female executives and business leaders are set to discuss the changing role of Arab women in the Middle East at a new event being launched in Saudi Arabia next month.
The Arab Women Forum is to take place on April 10 and will form part of the annual “Top CEO” awards event organized by the Dubai-based publisher Mediaquest.
Arab News is partnering with the inaugural women-focused forum, which is held at a time of significant social change in the Kingdom, including the move to allow women to drive.
“Given the raft of reforms underway in Saudi Arabia, there could not be a more appropriate and meaningful time to host such an event,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News.
“Arab News has been taking a leading role in both reporting on the changes underway in the Kingdom and pointing out the clear need for women to play key roles in Saudi society, and the many challenges ahead.
“This conference aims to take this conversation forward — for the benefit of both Saudi Arabia’s female workforce and the wider society as a whole.”
Julien Hawari, co-CEO of Mediaquest, welcomed the partnership with Arab News in hosting the inaugural Arab Women Forum.
“At a crossroad, the GCC and Saudi Arabia are going through a paradigm shift. The consequences of this fundamental transformation are many and are accelerating, resulting in profound economic change and the empowerment of women,” he said.
“This is transforming businesses and society. It was a natural fit for Mediaquest to host the women empowerment conference in Saudi Arabia, as such a topic will impact the entire Gulf.
“Arab News stands at the forefront of dynamic change in Saudi Arabia, so we are, naturally, very pleased to have Arab News as a partner in the Arab Women Forum.”
The launch of the event reflects the reforms seen in Saudi Arabia over the last year that have granted greater freedoms to Saudi women. Last September, women were given the right to drive, with the decree coming into force this June.
In January, women were allowed for the first time to attend football matches in Saudi Arabia.
The changes form part of a wider reform program spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy and drive growth in the country.
Topics set to be discussed at the event include how to empower women entrepreneurs, such as improving access to credit needed to start businesses. The representation of Arab women in regional politics and in corporate boardrooms will also be debated.
Some of the confirmed speakers so far include Ambareen Musa, CEO and founder of the UAE-based price comparison website, Souqalmal; Dr. Maliha Hashmi, executive director of the Red Sea Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the development of the Red Sea as a driver of economic growth, and Dr. Lama Al-Sulaiman, vice chair and board member of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


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.