King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech

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King Salman gave his annual speech at the opening of the third year of the Shoura Council’s seventh session on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 20 November 2018
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King Salman calls for political solution in Yemen during Shoura Council speech

  • He expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing development programs being undertaken in line with Vision 2030
  • “The Kingdom was founded on Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the public prosecution and the performance of the job entrusted to them,” the king said

JEDDAH: King Salman on Monday pledged to continue the Kingdom’s fight against extremism and all forms of terrorism. He also vowed to support the system of social services and sustainable growth for citizens. His annual policy speech at the opening of the third year of the Shoura Council’s seventh session highlighted the Kingdom’s priorities for the coming year and defined the contours of its domestic and foreign policies.
The speech focused on issues such as the war in Yemen, the Palestinian issue, stability in the oil market, countering Iranian interference in the region and job creation for Saudis.  “The Kingdom will maintain its effort to resolve regional crises,” he said.
The king reaffirmed that resolution of the Palestinian issue was on top of the Kingdom’s priorities. “At the 29th Arab Summit, which we called the Jerusalem Summit, we affirmed that the Palestinian cause is our main concern and will remain so until our brothers, the Palestinian people, gain all their legitimate rights, especially the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
Expressing the Kingdom’s support to reach a political solution in accordance with the UN resolutions, the king said that standing by the Yemeni people in confronting the aggression of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias was “not an option, but a duty.”
“We reaffirm our rejection of the continuous attempts of Houthi militias to impose their will on the Yemeni people, and obstruct the efforts to reach a political solution,” he said.
King Salman deplored the decades-long Iranian interference in the affairs of other countries and the Iranian regime’s support to terrorism in the region. “It is time for this chaos and devastation to stop,” he said. The king also called on the international community to take action to curb the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missiles program and to put an end to its destabilizing activities in the region.
He stressed the need for an urgent political solution to end the turmoil in Syria and to stave off terrorist organizations and foreign meddling in the war-torn country and allow the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. The king expressed his satisfaction over the measures taken to strengthen Saudi-Iraqi ties.
Highlighting the Kingdom’s humanitarian gestures toward friendly countries and allies, he said: “It will work with its partners and friends from around the world to help developing and low-income countries, and enable them to grow their economies.”
He also vowed to work with other oil producers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to ensure oil market stability.
“The Kingdom was founded on Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the public prosecution and the performance of the job entrusted to them,” the king said.
He also expressed his satisfaction over the ongoing development programs being undertaken in line with Vision 2030.
“We will continue to support plans and programs to reduce unemployment to acceptable levels. We have directed the Council for Economic Affairs and Development to focus on developing human capabilities and preparing the new generation for future jobs.
King Salman also vowed to support the country’s private sector and “to enable it as a partner in the ambitious economic growth journey.”
Commenting on the recent royal tours to different parts of the Kingdom, he said he had directed the crown prince and all ministers to monitor the needs and development priorities of all the regions.
“Social issues are our top priority. The government will continue to support the system of social services and provide targeted support according to the requirements of needy groups, so that they can produce, be economically efficient and get decent livelihoods. We will support civil society institutions to play their role in this regard.”


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.