Regulating licensed professionals to spur growth of private sector
The Saudi Commerce Ministry’s decision to streamline and ease procedures for certain professionals such as web developers and market and project analysts will help spur the growth of the private sector in the Kingdom. The new rules will help them use their expertise without having to face unnecessary bureaucratic hassles traditionally associated with licensing and practicing procedures.
This step will go a long way in helping the Kingdom achieve its goals set out in the Vision 2030 reform plan. In this regard, the ministry will issue a list of specializations that it categorizes as free professions. Simply put, these people with certain qualifications and levels of experience will be allowed to operate on their own, in other words freelance, without getting bound by an employment contract with the beneficiary of their services.
The ministry will finalize the list based on the Kingdom’s development needs. This step will help raise the efficiency and productivity of the Saudi professional sector and improve the work environment. The authorities are working to adopt the best international practices regulating free professions to empower professionals and develop the Kingdom’s human capital along modern lines.
However, it is important to note that the new rules do not apply to a company. These new rules do not mean that somebody can open a company offering services that fall in the category of free professions to avail the facilities offered to certain professionals.
Nevertheless, a professional company may seek the assistance of independent licensed professionals to perform their tasks or practice their profession provided that they are subject to the supervision and responsibility of the company.
Furthermore, the ministry has the authority to supervise the practice of all kinds of professions that are not currently subject to the supervision of specialized agencies. It has the authority to set conditions or delegate its powers to other agencies to regulate certain professions.
In all cases, a professional must take into account the legal fortifications that guarantee his rights. On the other hand, the beneficiary of these services must ensure the eligibility of the professional he or she deals with.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif