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  • Changes to the Saudi Arabian labor laws, April 2016

    The new amendments to the Saudi Arabian labor laws (initially announced in a Royal Decree No. M/46 of 05/05/1436H) came into force on 18 October 2015. The reforms follow the Saudi Ministry of Labor’s ongoing efforts to strike a balance between the creation of a dynamic marketplace for foreign businesses and protection and development of the local workforce.

    A number of changes have been made. We set out below a summary of some of the key areas that have undergone amendments:

    Probationary periods

    The probationary period can now be extended up to 180 days. An employee however may not be placed on probation more than once by the same employer, unless the employee is placed in a new position or was not engaged by the same employer in the last six months.

    Relocation

    The employee’s written consent is required before any geographic relocation which would entail the relocation of the employee’s place of residence. Temporary relocations of up to 30 days per annum are permitted however.

    Notice periods

    Open-ended contracts are now subject to 60 days’ termination notice for employees who are engaged and paid on a monthly basis. A minimum of 30 days’ is required for those engaged on other terms.

    Leave

    Employees serving their notice periods are now entitled to eight fully paid hours per week or a full day per week to look for alternative employment.

    Compensation

    Unless the parties agree in advance and in writing on the amount of compensation payable upon termination without “valid reason”, the party terminating the contract will have to compensate the other with either:

    • A wage equivalent to 15 days for each completed year of employment, in indefinite term contracts.
    • The balance of wages for the remaining employment term, in the fixed-term contract.

    In each case, the minimum amount of compensation may not be less than two months’ wages.

    Unauthorised leave

    Employers may terminate the employee’s contract without compensation in the event the employee is absent from work “without a valid reason” for either:

    • More than 30 non-consecutive days a year.
    • For more than 15 consecutive days within a year.

    In the first case, a prior written warning must be delivered to the employee after 20 days of non-consecutive absence and in the second case the warning must be delivered after 10 days of consecutive absence.

    Renewability

    Fixed term contracts that are renewed more than three times (or upon the employee accruing four years of continuous service, whichever comes sooner) will automatically convert into indefinite term contracts.

    References and sanctions

    Departing employees have the right to request upon termination a service certificate setting out details of their employment. The employers are prohibited from giving negative references which could hinder the employee’s chances of securing alternative employment.

    Employers are also required to maintain written records of any fines imposed on their employees. The information required includes the worker’s name, their remuneration, the date, the reason for and the amount of the fine imposed.

    Leave

    A number of amendments increasing short-term leave have been introduced.

    • Maternity leave: female workers are now entitled to 10 weeks’ maternity leave fully paid, to commence maximum four weeks before the expected date of delivery. The leave can also be extended for an additional month on an unpaid basis.
    • Marriage and bereavement leave: leave due to marriage or death of an immediate family member has been increased from three to five days.
    • Paternity leave: leave has been increased from one to three days.

    Training requirements

    An employer with more than 50 employees is required to provide training to at least 12% of its total number of Saudi Arabian employees. Employer must be able to provide documentary evidence of the training.

    Working hours

    Employees’ daily working hour limit has been increased from 11 to 12 hours provided that the employees do not work for more than five consecutive hours.

    Company policies and employment contracts

    All companies are now required to establish written internal by-laws as per the standard form applied by the Ministry of Labor. Companies are also required to follow the form of employment contract prepared by the Ministry of Labor.

    Work injuries

    Employers must provide financial aid to employees temporarily unable to work due to injuries suffered at work at the rate of 75% of the employees’ wage. In the event of non-recovery, the employer will need to compensate the employee for such injury.

    Enforcement

    The Ministry of Labor inspectors are no longer authorised to close businesses “on the spot”. All potential violations must be reviewed by the Ministry of Labor.

    Depending on its severity, any violation of the law may be subject to monetary fines or business suspension or closure.

    Finally, the new amendments provide the Minister of Labor with a discretionary right to grant a financial reward of up to 25% of the total amount of collected penalties against any information that assists inspectors or others in revealing violations of the Labor Law.

    Conclusion

    As well as a general increase in rights of employees, the amendments were intended to narrow the gap between employment in the private and public sectors. An increase in Saudization and rights of employers to manage employees, particularly when dealing with employment termination, have been well received.

    It remains to be seen as to how the Ministry of Labor will enforce these new laws and carry out its terms in practice, however the transparency these amendments provide to both employees and employers no doubt offer a better foundation for working relationships going forward.

    To download the PDF https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_-33snBheDjTWw0aEZQbFItRXM

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  • How to Get A US VISA

    E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Petition
An E-2 Visa is one of the nicest working visas as it allows you to run your own business and be an entrepreneur. While it periodically needs to be renewed, you can stay here in the U.S. as long as you like on the E-2. Normally, this type of E-2 Visa would require and investment around $100,000U.S. to successfully process. The more capital investment that is required for the business, the higher the investment. Additionally, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can come as beneficiaries to your approved E-2. Your children will be able to go to school in the U.S. without having to get a separate student visa (as long as they are not in college.) The spouse will be permitted to apply for a work permit to work anywhere in the United States.  A great deal of the success of the E-2 Petition is how it is prepared. The higher the investment, the easier it is to get approved. The type of company that would either be purchased or the type of company that would start from scratch is wide open depending on what you would like to do. 
This petition is usually 2-4 inches thick. It consists of the petition itself, the complex business plan with numerous charts and figures, and the incorporation papers. Once submitted directly to the Consulate, it takes a few months for approval.The E-2 is a complicated U.S. Visa Petition and requires years of experience to do it properly. There are many issues that must be dealt with and argued in the petition itself such as marginality, substantiality, ownership, managerial vs. executive, tracing of funds, etc. My firm will get everyone of these issues and more properly addressed in the legal brief and the E-2 Presentation. Simply having the money to invest is only the start. My firm has been doing these petitions for years and the procedures for the briefs, incorporation, and complex business plan are in place and will be done correctly, efficiently and with the highest chance of success.It can also be submitted to U.S. Immigration for a change of status. However, keep in mind that with a change of status, you cannot keep that status when you leave the U.S. It is normally preferable to send the package directly to the U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy for adjudication.

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  • Global Firepower Rank

    • Ranking does not simply rely on the total number of weapons available to any one country but rather focuses on weapon diversity within the number totals to provide a better balance of firepower available (i.e. fielding 100 minesweepers does not equal the strategic and tactical value of fielding 10 aircraft carriers).
    • Nuclear stockpiles are NOT taken into account but recognized / suspected nuclear powers receive a bonus.
    • Geographical factors, logistical flexibility, natural resources and local industry influence the final ranking.
    • Available manpower is a key consideration; nations with large populations tend to rank higher.
    • Land-locked nations are NOT penalized for lack of a navy; naval powers ARE penalized for lack of diversity in available assets.
    • NATO allies receive a slight bonus due to the theoretical sharing of resources.
    • Current political / military leadership is NOT taken into account.

    As of 4/1/2016 there are a total of (126) countries included in the GFP database.

     

     
    0.0897 - United States of America (North America; NATO)
     
    0.0964 - Russia (Asia)
     
    0.0988 - China (Asia)
     
    0.1661 - India (Asia)
     
    0.1993 - France (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2164 - United Kingdom (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2466 - Japan (Asia)
     
    0.2623 - Turkey (Asia; Middle East; NATO)
     
    0.2646 - Germany (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2724 - Italy (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.2824 - South Korea (Asia)
     
    0.3056 - Egypt (Africa; Middle East)
     
    0.3246 - Pakistan (Asia)
     
    0.3354 - Indonesia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.3359 - Brazil (South America; Latin)
     
    0.3591 - Israel (Middle East)
     
    0.3684 - Vietnam (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.3909 - Poland (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.3958 - Taiwan (Asia)
     
    0.4068 - Thailand (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.4071 - Iran (Middle East)
     
    0.4192 - Canada (North America; NATO)
     
    0.4209 - Australia (Asia)
     
    0.4335 - Saudi Arabia (Middle East)
     
    0.4442 - North Korea (Asia)
     
    0.4514 - Algeria (Africa)
     
    0.4913 - Spain (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.5147 - Greece (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.5774 - Sweden (Scandanavia; Eunion)
     
    0.5867 - Ukraine (Europe)
     
    0.6286 - Mexico (North America; Latin)
     
    0.6378 - Czech Republic (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.6584 - Myanmar (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.6679 - Malaysia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.7073 - Argentina (South America; Latin)
     
    0.7078 - Syria (Middle East)
     
    0.7112 - Switzerland (Europe)
     
    0.7147 - Norway (Scandanavia; NATO)
     
    0.7182 - Netherlands (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.7501 - Peru (South America)
     
    0.7502 - Colombia (South America; Latin)
     
    0.7619 - Ethiopia (Africa)(46th)
     
    0.7744 - Romania (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.7856 - Nigeria (Africa)
     
    0.7882 - Venezuela (South America; Latin)
     
    0.8252 - South Africa (Africa)
     
    0.8283 - Chile (South America; Latin)
     
    0.8384 - Uzbekistan (Asia)
     
    0.8449 - Belarus (Europe)
     
    0.8453 - Denmark (Scandanavia; Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    0.8661 - Philippines (Asia; Southeast)
     
    0.8683 - Bangladesh (Asia)
     
    0.8722 - Kazakhstan (Asia)
     
    0.8878 - Angola (Africa)
     
    0.8952 - Finland (Scandanavia; Eunion)
     
    0.9011 - Morocco (Africa)
     
    0.9135 - Austria (Europe; Eunion)
     
    0.9301 - United Arab Emirates (Middle East)
     
    0.9342 - Iraq (Middle East)
     
    0.9349 - Azerbaijan (Asia)
     
    0.9678 - Yemen (Middle East)
     
    1.0007 - Hungary (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0199 - Portugal (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0241 - Singapore (Asia; Southeast)
     
    1.0391 - Belgium (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0611 - Afghanistan (Asia)
     
    1.0657 - Bulgaria (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.0733 - Croatia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.1582 - Ecuador (South America)
     
    1.2354 - Jordan (Middle East)
     
    1.2356 - Sudan (Africa)
     
    1.3169 - Libya (Africa)
     
    1.3384 - Democratic Republic of the Congo (Africa)
     
    1.3687 - Slovakia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.3731 - Kenya (Africa)
     
    1.4089 - Tunisia (Africa)
     
    1.4219 - Oman (Middle East)
     
    1.4601 - Kuwait (Middle East)
     
    1.4637 - Cuba (Central America)
     
    1.5148 - Georgia (Asia)
     
    1.5483 - Bolivia (South America)
     
    1.5508 - Zimbabwe (Africa)
     
    1.5868 - Serbia (Europe)
     
    1.6268 - Sri Lanka (Asia)
     
    1.6539 - Zambia (Africa)
     
    1.6722 - Turkmenistan (Asia)
     
    1.7981 - Mongolia (Asia)
     
    1.8224 - Cambodia (Asia; Southeast)
     
    1.8307 - Chad (Africa)
     
    1.8564 - Albania (Europe; NATO)
     
    1.8778 - Bahrain (Middle East)
     
    1.8793 - Uganda (Africa)
     
    1.8956 - Qatar (Middle East)
     
    1.9113 - Armenia (Asia)
     
    1.9243 - Lebanon (Middle East)
     
    1.9561 - Tanzania (Africa)
     
    1.9598 - Lithuania (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    1.9741 - Nepal (Asia)
     
    1.9801 - South Sudan (Africa)
     
    2.0476 - Ghana (Africa)
     
    2.0791 - New Zealand (Asia)
     
    2.1576 - Guatemala (South America)
     
    2.1777 - Latvia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.2177 - Paraguay (South America; Latin)
     
    2.2291 - Uruguay (South America; Latin)
     
    2.2407 - Cameroon (Africa)
     
    2.2971 - Honduras (Central America)
     
    2.3061 - Mozambique (Africa)
     
    2.3138 - Estonia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.3158 - Kyrgyzstan (Asia)
     
    2.3958 - Slovenia (Europe; NATO; Eunion)
     
    2.4322 - Tajikistan (Asia)
     
    2.4372 - Nicaragua (Central America)
     
    2.4719 - Niger (Africa)
     
    2.4901 - Ivory Coast (Africa)
     
    2.6638 - Mali (Africa)
     
    2.7535 - Madagascar (Africa)
     
    2.8204 - Gabon (Africa)
     
    2.8447 - Republic of the Congo (Africa)
     
    2.8574 - Bosnia and Herzegovina (Europe)
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  • How to Recover a Permanently Deleted Files

    Recover deleted files for free: Step 1. Download DiskDigger (download here). You don’t need to install it – just extract the contents of the .zip archive and run the .exe file. Remember that if you’ve already accidentally deleted some files, you shouldn’t download DiskDigger to the disk containing your lost files as it could overwrite your files and make it impossible to recover them. Ideally, download it before you actually need it.

    (Note that there are many free data recovery utilities. You don't have to use DiskDigger, but we've seen good results from it.)

    Recover deleted files for free: Step 2. Start DiskDigger. The opening screen shows all the disks so select the one containing your deleted files and click on ‘Next’ three times. The disk will now be scanned and any deleted files will be listed – this could take some time. If your missing files are listed, continue to the next step. If not you could try altering some of the options in the earlier screens.

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  • Soft Drinks Lose Fizz as Gov’t Shuts Down Factories

    In an unprecedented move, a government agency has ordered the shutting down of two soft drink bottling plants and ordered the recall of the products.

    The Ministry of Trade has shutdown the MOHA Soft Drinks plant in Hawassa and the East Africa Bottling plant in Dire Dawa over substandard qualities. The companies are known for their flagship products, Pepsi and Coca Cola, respectively.

    Sources from the Ministry of Trade confirmed the closure. However they declined to comment on the current status of the investigations.

    The plant in Hawassa, called the Hawassa Millennium Pepsi Cola plant was opened in 2007 and employs over 500 people.

    “We have been informed of the process but it is too early to comment,” Tekie Berhan, communication director Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise told Fortune.

    The office is responsible for conducting inspections on the two factories regarding the quality of the products.

    In a letter written by the enterprise regarding MOHA’s products, the reason behind the closure was revealed as the substandard quality of the soft drinks processed by the plant.

    The letter reads that samples taken on October 17, 2016 from the plants from Hawassa failed to fulfil PH Standards set by Ethiopian Standard Agency. In general, the allegation states that MOHA failed to meet the compulsory standards in soft drinks that were approved by the Agency in 2013.

    The test results of Pepsi soft drinks manufactured in the Hawassa plant show that it failed the PH limit standards. The requirements state that PH values for soft drinks (aside from citrus juices) have to be 2.5. Pepsi’s samples showed 2.43.

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