On April 20th, the U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC) presented the Webinar Event, Saudi Arabia Private Sector Initiatives: What You Need to Know, in collaboration with Platinum Member Proven. Panelists Omer Saleem, Director and Deputy CEO and Osman Qureshi, Director Customer Success of Proven and Moderator, Lisa Leander, Director of Member Services of USSBC, provided updates to the current situation in Saudi Arabia and the government initiatives to support the Saudi Arabian private sector amid the COVID-19 crisis. The panelists discussed visas and mobility, tax and payroll, compliance measures and other relevant private sector relief programs.
Note that updates and regulations changes are happening weekly, and we encourage you to visit the www.us-sabc.org website for news updates and/or visit Proven blog Insights, for updates on regulation changes https://proven-sa.com/insights/.
- Currently in Saudi Arabia there is a work from home policy in full effect, as well as observing a full curfew for the public, with exceptions for essential local travel.
- A number of changes to visa regulations including extensions for exit/entry, visit visa stayers in-country, and residence permits (Iqama) are being made.
- New visas for commercial and residence (Iqama) visas were put on hold as of Friday, April 17th. There is no date given when processing will begin again.
- For those who have staff who were out of country and visas expired, there will be a system to renew those visas once the restrictions are lifted, and it is expected staff who can’t currently return because of travel restrictions will be able to do so. There is no current date of when the Embassy will reopen to processing visas.
- Companies can apply for GOSI compensation as an alternative to terminating Saudi contracts, including compensation equaling 60% of GOSI-registered wages for a duration of 3 months, among other measures to support businesses.
- There are a number of financial measures to support the banking sector, financial institutions and SMEs, as well as a number of payments deferrals and other financials relief programs for WHT returns and VAT returns or VAT payments on imports.