Saudi Arabia is to extend a welcoming hand to expats by offering them a right of residency similar to the US green card system.
The card will allow expats to claim permanent residency in the country.
Expats will pay Zakat, VAT and insurance premiums in the same way as Saudis and will have the choice to own property and real estate and to own and run businesses.
“It’s excellent news for expats and will allow them to play a role in the country which they have not had the chance to exercise in the past,” said a spokesman for the government.
The spokesman also explained the new measure is part of a range of changes aimed at moving Saudi Arabia from dependence on an oil-based economy.
Not only will the card system allow expats to take up residency, but jobs will also be opened up for more expats as the incumbents shift from a temporary to permanent residency status.
“We expect to raise $100 billion for the economy by 2020,” said the spokesman. “Around $10 billion will come from the green card and another 410 billion from the fees imposed on companies exceeding their foreign worker quotas.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Labour is consulting on whether to bar expats from working in recruitment and human resources jobs.
Jail sentence for jumping red lights
Police in Oman are cracking down on drivers who jump red lights by enforcing stiff new penalties for the offence.
Drivers who are caught failing to stop when traffic lights turn red face a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of 500 Omani Riyal
“This is a dangerous traffic violation and we deal with many serious accidents involving death or injuries because drivers fail to observe red lights,” said a police spokesman.
If someone is injured or killed in an accident resulting from jumping a red light, the prison term can be hiked to up to five years.
Power to the people row in Kuwait
Kuwait’s National assembly has thrown out a government plan to raise energy bills and introduced a proposal to cut costs for nationals but not expats.
The plan is under discussion within the government and the result should be available within days.
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