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First luxury property in Egypt's Ras el Bar opens

Deutsche Hospitality has welcomed to its portfolio the new Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan in Egypt, which will operate under the Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts brand.

Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan stands in the northern part of the country, in the popular holiday destination of Ras el Bar, and boasts a total of 153 rooms, including 15 suites. All rooms feature a balcony with Nile and sea view.

The property's extensive list of facilities includes a main restaurant; the Sea Lobby Bar; four fully equipped conference rooms, including two large ballrooms; a gym area; and a large outdoor pool with a pool bar. Plans are also in place to open a roof deck restaurant with sweeping vistas of the Nile and the Mediterranean Sea.

"Egypt is one of our most important and strongest growth markets," explained CEO, Deutsche Hospitality, Thomas Willms. "The Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan is the first luxury hotel to be launched in the region. We have achieved a further expansion of our local presence and have also been able to bring about a significant enhancement in the relevance of the Steigenberger brand.

http://www.ttgmena.com/first-luxury-property-in-egypts-ras-el-bar-opens/

Egypt plans $663m spend on new industrial complexes

Egyptian government has allocated EGP11 billion ($663.71 million) to build industrial complexes in the country to bolster exporters and create jobs, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait has said.

Under the government plan to reduce unemployment and create jobs for young people across Egypt, a total of EGP5 billion was allocated to the building of 13 new industrial complexes, Maait was quoted as saying by Mubasher.

The minister said the government has allocated EGP6 billion to a new programme for the stimulation of exports, it added.

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357739.html

Rixos Hotels to operate largest all-inclusive resort in Egypt

Rixos Hotels, part of the Accor portfolio, has announced a partnership with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to re-launch the Rixos Makadi Bay - Hurghada.

This agreement to manage the world's largest luxury resort in the Egyptian Riviera overlooking the Red Sea is the latest milestone to follow Accor's acquisition of 50 per cent of the Rixos Hotels' shares as part of its expansion strategy in the Middle East.

The project, scheduled to be launched in 2020, will eventually expand the existing property on the bay to feature 1,636 keys and world-class leisure and sports facilities.

"This collaboration represents a pivotal moment in Accor's growth history, as our brand's largest resort globally will offer a comprehensive range of facilities and dynamic entertainment experiences," said Fattah Tamingi, founder and chairman of Rixos Hotels.

The stand-out property will boast a stunning location in a secluded bay on the Red Sea, just south of Hurghada - a global hotspot for scuba diving, family getaways and golf breaks.

New resort highlights will include individual villas, an extensive indoor and outdoor spa, fitness facilities, kids' clubs, a waterpark, beach lounge, large conference centre, wide-ranging F&B options and an expansive entertainment area with an amphitheatre.

The resort is expected to become the preferred destination for discerning travellers and corporate group business from key source markets such as Europe and the CIS.

Tamingi added: "We are delighted to partner with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to launch this flagship project, which will set a new benchmark for luxury exclusive all-inclusive resorts in Egypt and the wider Middle East."

Mahmoud El-Sayed Moussa El-Sharkawy, CEO, the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development, added: "Our vision is to transform Makadi Bay into the leading leisure and entertainment destination on the Red Sea and in this respect, the Rixos brand, with its successful one-of-a-kind hospitality concept and proven expertise operating in Egypt's resort market, makes strategic sense. It's the perfect fit."

"This unique takeover opportunity strengthens the Rixos offering in Egypt's Red Sea Riviera and highlights the strong partnership Accor has established with the Rixos team to develop the brand regionally and globally," said Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.

"We would like to thank all the parties involved in this landmark project, which offers the right mix of elements in terms of scale of inventory and facilities to embody the Rixos business model and to boost awareness of its exclusive luxury offering in key regional and global markets."

The renovation project of the existing development in Makadi Bay will be phased in two stages, each spanning a year. Phase one, which will include the addition of wings and facilities to uplift the hotel in line with Rixos brand standards, is already underway.

When phase one is complete, Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay will be officially launched. It will feature 815 keys including villas, 12 F&B outlets, a beach lounge, 1,500-sq-m of meeting space, a spa and wellness area covering 2,400 sqm, multiple pools, a small aquapark, kids' clubs and expansive outdoor areas for fitness and entertainment programmes.

Phase two of the renovation plan will start as soon as the property opens its doors and will include a 23,000-sq-m water park, as well as upgrades to the remaining hotel inventory.

Established in 2000, Rixos Hotels is a Turkey-based luxury brand with a global portfolio of 25 hotels in seven countries, 17 of which are operated as waterfront resorts and welcome more than 1 million guests annually. The chain embodies traditional Turkish hospitality and features unique health treatment clubs and entertainment experiences for guests of all ages.

Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay will expand Accor's footprint in Egypt to 25 properties strong, with 13 more projects pipelined across its diversified portfolio of brands including Fairmont and Movenpick on Egypt's Red Sea and north coast.

The group's portfolio currently includes Rixos Sharm El Sheikh, Rixos Alamein and Rixos Premium Seagate in Nabq Bay, as well as Mvenpick El Gouna and Mvenpick Soma Bay. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/TTN_357476.html

Focus on intelligent cities at Cairo event

The 5th Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference (ICEC), the Middle East and Africa's foremost smart and sustainable cities event, will take place on October 23 and 24 in Cairo, Egypt.

Root Technologies, the organiser of ICEC, said the event is an ideal platform for global industry leaders to deliver sustainable intelligent cities for the future generations.

Ahmed Issa, CEO, Root Technologies commented: "Each year we take a step forward in delivering sustainable intelligent cities for the future generations. Over the years ICEC has been fantastically well-received, and ICEC 2019 will be even more successful. With senior level decision makers and participants in attendance, we received tremendous feedback from our attendees, speakers and sponsors alike on the quality of the content, networking, generated business opportunities and the overall experience, making ICEC the must attend event to meet global industry leaders and engage in mega projects."

ICEC brings together the most influential consultants, real estate investors, developers, mixed-use developers, city planners, vendors, technology providers, systems integrators, architects, designers, government and telecom authorities as well as contractors and building material providers. It is the leading event to gain insight on how to generate significant returns by turning your development into an intelligent sustainable city.

ICEC is backed by industry leaders such as ECG; HitekNOFAL Solutions; thyssenkrupp Elevator; Giza Systems; Bticino; Legrand; Adtran; Elsewedy Electric; HIKVision; iHome Future; SAS for Electrical Industries; and OT Solutions to name a few.

Intelligent Cities have become essential to achieve better quality of life for current and future generations. It is also one of the biggest growth areas impacting sectors such as the ICT, energy, transport and real estate sectors. Driven by the demand for advanced and 'always on' solutions and services, the Middle East is expected to play a leading role. The need to improve existing infrastructure as well as efficiently maximising current resources is further fueling demand. Intelligent cities bring value added benefits to developers and city planners by increasing investment returns. While new services built on cutting edge technologies enrich citizens' quality of life.

The event will cover the following areas: FTTx, Triple Play, Telecom, Mobility, Data Centers, Command & Control Centers, Residential & Enterprise Cabling, Wiring Devices, Home Automation, BMS, HVAC, Access Control, Fire & Security Systems, Surveillance, Digital Signage, Unified Communications, High Speed Communication, Outdoor & Street Lighting, LED Lighting, Power Plants, Electrical Distribution & Smart Grids, Renewable Energies, Solar & Wind Fields, Green Technology, Environmental Analysis, Water Control & Pumps, Water & Waste Water Treatment, Irrigation Systems, Industrial Systems, Garbage Collection Systems, Eco-friendly Transportation Systems, Connected Cars, Parking Systems, Facilities Management Systems & Applications, Meteorological Technologies, ERP, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, M2M, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Information Security, E-Learning, E-Health & E-Finance, Elevators, Escalators & Moving Walks and Green Building Materials.

"ICEC is a must attend event for those committed to achieving an urban future by developing smart and sustainable cities and we're looking forward to welcoming participants to Cairo," concluded Issa.

The conference is dedicated to promoting knowledge sharing and networking opportunities while the exhibition space allows participants to showcase their innovations, technologies and products to key decision makers. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357712.html


Savills launches revamped apartments in Bahrain

Savills, a global real estate services provider, has announced the launch of 105 freshly refurbished apartments located in Segaya, Bahrain.

With connectivity to the King Fahad Causeway and in close proximity to malls and restaurants, Segaya Plaza offers affordable, high-quality one-, two- and three-bedroom options. This exclusive property will be leased and managed by Savills' Bahrain.

Leanne Lobo, associate director and Bahrain's head of Agency said: "Segaya Plaza is in a sought-after central location in the vibrant Segaya district. With the completion of a fresh refurbishment, Segaya Plaza offers affordable luxury with convenient access to central Manama and is available for tenants to move in immediately."

Segaya Plaza provides exceptional amenities such as a rooftop swimming pool and a well-equipped barbeque area for family and friends, together with panoramic views of Manama. Other facilities within the property include a fully-equipped gym with a steam room and sauna.

Acknowledging the limited car parking availability in Manama, residents of Segaya Plaza do not need to worry as the building provides dedicated parking facilities on-site on each floor (floor to apartment parking) and 24-hour security, a Savills statement said.

Starting fromBD400 ($1.054) per month to BD650 per month, Segaya Plaza is available to rent immediately, it added, noting that the show apartments are available for viewing seven days a week. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357694.html

First American-style university set to open in Bahrain

The first purpose-built, American-style university is set to open in Bahrain in September.

American University of Bahrain (AUBH) will be located in Riffa and has been designed to cater for up to 4,000 students, a statement said.

The campus occupies a 75,000 square metre plot and features classrooms, labs, an auditorium, student common rooms and sporting facilities.

AUBH, which will feature dedicated Colleges of Engineering, Architecture & Design, and Business & Management, will be operated by the Bahrain-based Elm Education platform, in which Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the country's sovereign wealth fund, has invested.

Mahmood H Alkooheji, CEO of Mumtalakat, said: "We believe that investing in education is an investment in the kingdom's economy and future. Education is the necessary building block for better health, employment and empowerment.

"In Bahrain, with a growing youth population, the demand for higher education continues to grow at 6 percent, but our private higher education institutions account for only one third of total enrolments. This is why we chose to invest in Elm - to address the increasing demand for education and help build a more productive and prosperous society."

Dr Susan E Saxton, president of AUBH, added: "Establishment of AUBH supports the kingdom in its quest to achieve academic excellence, and to advance its status as the educational role model for the Arab region."

Elm has also entered into a joint venture with a prominent operator of American curriculum K12 schools, to co-own and operate an American curriculum school in Bahrain.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/education/424440-first-american-style-university-set-to-open-in-bahrain

Amazon Web Services launches Middle East Region in Bahrain

Amazon Web Services has announced the opening of the AWS Middle East Region out of Bahrain, which the company says will allow companies, educational institutions and governments to run their applications and serve end-users from data centres located in the region.

"The cloud has the change to unlock digital transformation in the Middle East," said Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services. "Today, we are launching advanced and secure technology infrastructure that matches the scale of our other AWS regions around the world and are already seeing strong demand in the Middle East for AWS technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics, IoT and much more."

"We are excited to see how our cloud technology will provide new ways for governments to better engage with citizens, for enterprises to innovate for their next phase of growth, and for entrepreneurs to build businesses and compete on a global scale," he added.

Around the world, AWS regions are composed of 'availability zones', each one located in a separate geographic location with enough distance to reduce the risk of a single event impacting business continuity. At the outset, the AWS Middle Region will offer three availability zones.

In the region, a number of start-ups and companies are building their businesses on or moving to AWS, including Careem, BitOasis, Al Tayer Group, Aramex, Bahrain Bourse, Flydubai, MBC Group and Virgin Middle East.

Another, Emirates NBD, is using AWS's AI and machine learning services, data analytics and natural language processing technologies to better engage with customers.

"Emirates NBD has been collaborating with AWS and taking advantage of AWS's technologies and innovation practices to develop personalised, real-time banking experiences," said Abdulla Qassem, Emirates NBD's group COO. "The new AWS Middle East region will allow us to further experiment and enhance our solutions as we continue to realise our vision of being the region's most innovative financial services organisation."

Careem, for its part, started working with AWS to help it expand to 14 countries in under seven years.

"When we started building Careem, we knew that the ability to scale fast, in a secure and reliable way, would be critical to our long term success," said Careem co-founder Magnus Olsson. "Thanks to AWS, we have been able to focus our efforts on geographical and new vertical expansion and to innovate new technologies and services."

Olsson added that "we will now be able to benefit from data centres with lower latency in the region."

Public sector entities in the region using AWS include various Bahraini government ministries, Kuwait's Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority, Tamkeen and Mumtalakat.

Additionally, AWS is launching a new 'direct connect' location in Bahrain, joining two others - and two Amazon CloudFront Edge - locations in the UAE. These centres make it easier for customers to establish a dedicate private network connection between AWS and their data centre, office or colocation environment. AWS is also offering instructor-led training programmes for customers and partners.

According to IDC's lastest Middle East CIO survey, 73 percent or organisations in the region are undergoing formal digital transformations, with total spending on public cloud services expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2 percent to reach $5.2 billion in 2023.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/technology/424928-amazon-web-services-launches-middle-east-region-in-bahrain


UAE provides Aden airport with equipment, electricity generators

The UAE has provided Aden International Airport with equipment and electricity generators, to enable it to function following the breakdown of its only generator.

The UAE previously restored the airport, supplied it with inspection equipment and computers, and constructed a fully equipped medical clinic.

The airport was supplied with an ambulance vehicle and buses to transport passengers. It also previously received a one-megawatt electricity generator to counter electricity outages.

Captain Saleh Salim bin Nahid, President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation and Meteorology, praised the UAE's gesture, which will solve a major issue faced by the airport caused by the breakdown of its generator.

https://www.emirates247.com/news/region/uae-provides-aden-airport-with-equipment-electricity-generators-2019-08-08-1.688265

Pay by card on Abu Dhabi's airport taxis

Abu Dhabi: Commuters using Abu Dhabi's airport taxis can now pay their fare by credit card, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) announced in a statement on Monday.

The move to allow for card payments, including through Apple and Samsung Pay, is part of the Abu Dhabi transport sector regulator's initiatives to improve public transport options for residents and visitors.

The ITC currently regulates the operations of more than 6,100 taxis in the capital. The fleet includes airport taxis, which are black, six-seater luxury vehicles with plush interiors and extra baggage space. The Mercedes Vitos taxis previously accepted multiple currencies for fare payments, so the new card payments system is an added option.

According to the ITC statement, more than 1,100 card-based transactions have been completed till date following a soft launch of the new payment system in mid-July. The regulator is also studying the possibility of implementing other online payment options, including ALI Pay and WeChat.

https://gulfnews.com/uae/transport/pay-by-card-on-abu-dhabis-airport-taxis-1.65894411

Damac Properties waives fees for external cleaners and maintenance

Damac said the fee was introduced to ensure the security of the residents in the community and to generate incremental revenue for owners associations with the objective of reducing service charges.

Damac Properties has waived all registration fees for external vendors and contractors and maintenance companies, although it plans to continue with the registration process, according to a company spokesperson.

In late July, owners and residents of properties managed by Damac or Loams - the Luxury Owner Association Management Services - properties were informed of the change in policy on Thursday, July 25.

The announcement, however, met with resistance from residents, who launched an online petition calling on Damac to drop it completely. In response, the developer said it would reconsider the charge.

On Tuesday, Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, Damac Properties, announced that the policy change would no longer be implemented.

"The registration fees for all external service providers was introduced to ensure the security of the residents in the community and to generate incremental revenue for owners associations with the objective of reducing service charges," he said.

"After reviewing the concerns raised by residents and owners, Loams has re-evaluated the implementation process of vendor registration and work permits, resulting in the decision that hence forth all registration fees will be waived," McLoughlin added.

However, McLoughlin said that the primary focus of the registration, which is designed to ensure safety and quality service, will continue.

"The registration process will continue to be implemented without fees," he said

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/property/425398-damac-properties-waives-fees-for-external-cleaners-maintenance

Dubai Municipality to build gardens for senior citizens

All is rosy in the garden for senior citizens in Dubai who are being given green spaces for free to help boost their wellbeing.

Dubai Municipality has announced plans to create gardens at the homes of 15 older residents during the remainder of the year as part of an ongoing initiative to improve their mental and physical health.

The scheme is already reaping rewards according to the emirate's Community Development Authority, which has been monitoring its impact on its first beneficaries.

The respondents recorded improvement in their movement abilities and mental state on the back of having their own garden to nurture.

"Dubai Municipality is committed to provide all kinds of support to the satisfaction and happiness of senior citizens by designing and implementing home gardens free of charge," said Dawoud Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality.

"We will continue to provide support to this group and we will enhance community service to all other groups to achieve the Municipality's vision of building a happy and sustainable city."

Manal Bin Yaarouf Al Suwaidi, director of customer and partners relations department at Dubai Municipality, said the project is in line with a national strategy to improve the lives of residents.

"It reflects our appreciation to senior citizens for their efforts throughout their lives to serve the nation," she said.

"It is also in accordance with our values, especially as they represent an important part of the social environment.

"It will help senior citizens to be more active in their leisure time by taking care of plants in their garden throughout the year."

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/dubai-municipality-to-build-gardens-for-senior-citizens-1.884708

Abu Dhabi trials e-scooter rentals to reduce traffic

Uber signed a partnership with e-scooter leader Lime to allow users to rent the vehicles directly through the ride-hailing app.

Abu Dhabi is piloting e-scooter rentals for use on pedestrian and cycle paths in a bid to reduce traffic in the UAE capital, according to the city's transport authority.

The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) said companies can now apply for a business licence to run electric scooter rental services, which were banned in Dubai in March due to a lack of regulation.

"The implementation of this service follows ITC's endeavour to reduce the traffic congestion and maintain a safe environment that will boost the quality of life in the emirate. This can be achieved by offering a variety of alternative modes of transport," the centre said in a statement.

The initial trial will run for six to 12 months and restrict the use of the vehicles to the Corniche and Khalifa Street, where their speed limit is also limited to 15-20km per hour.

The authority said the 'efficient and eco-friendly' means of daily transport will link public bus stations to main destinations like shopping malls, facilities and residential areas.

While rental prices have not been revealed, the cost should be "nominal", the ITC said.

Prior to the ban in Dubai, California-based Qwikly offered e-scooters for AED3 to unlock and 50 fils per minute to run.

In July 2018, Uber signed a partnership with e-scooter leader Lime to allow users to rent the vehicles directly through the ride-hailing app.

Cities such as San Francisco, Paris and Copenhagen have allowed people to hire e-scooters in a similar way to city bicycles. The French government last year introduced a ?135 fine for riding the vehicle on the pavement and ?35 for disruptive parking.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/transport/425144-abu-dhabi-trials-e-scooter-rentals-to-reduce-traffic

UAE visa guide: Tourist visa, long-term visa, residence visa, and more

All you need to know about types of visa in the UAE.

Whether you want to work or simply visit the UAE, several visas are available that can suit your travel plans. While the country issues many other kinds of visas, we're just going to talk about the most common ones. Which UAE visa is right for you? Here are the options:

UAE permanent residency scheme:

The UAE has introduced a six-month multiple-entry interim visa for non-UAE residents seeking long-term investment visa in the country. The new system enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE's mainland.

These visas will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

Those eligible for the long-term visa and currently residing in the UAE can transfer their existing residency permits to investor visa if they fulfil conditions.

Investors, experts and talented students who are eligible for the long term visa - ranging from five to ten years - under the Cabinet Decree No. (56) of 2018 can avail of the interim visa to "identify opportunities in their field and make appropriate decisions for them and families".

The UAE authority said it has activated three new services on its portal:

* a six-month visa with multiple entry to complete the procedures for residency of an investor

* a six-month visa with multiple entry to complete long-term residency procedures for both entrepreneurs and outstanding students

* a six-month visa with a single entry to complete the residency procedures for the talented individuals.

Gold Card:

The Gold Card will be granted to qualifying investors, entrepreneurs, professional talents, researchers in various fields of science and knowledge, and outstanding students.

It is a new initiative will attract greater foreign investment and stimulate the local economy, making it more efficient and attractive for investors. It will also increase the UAE's competitiveness and reaffirms the country's position as a global incubator.

Gold Card visa holders can be out of the country for longer than six consecutive months.

How to apply: UAE-based individuals can apply at any immigration office or accredited offices. Non-UAE-based individuals can acquire the documents from ica.gov.ae

Long-term residence visas in the UAE

10-year visa without a sponsor:

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UA

1. Investors in public investments of at least Dh10 million

The investment may take many forms such as:

* A deposit of at least Dh10 million in an investment fund inside the country?- Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than Dh10 million?- Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than Dh10 million?

* Having a total investment of not less than Dh10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 per cent of the total investment.

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

* The amount invested must not be loaned?- The investment should be retained for at least three years?

There should be a financial solvency of up to Dh10 million?

*Visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes Dh10 million

* The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor?

* Investors from abroad may apply for a multiple-entry permit for a six-month period.

2. Persons with specialised talents

This includes specialised talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, as well as creative individuals in the field of culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialised field of a priority in the UAE.

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

- Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence?-Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development?

- Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE's economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy?- Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or a scientific research published in a world-class journal ?

- Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognised company or holders of a high academic achievement and position.

3. Doctors and specialists:

* A PhD degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world (refer to ICA for information)?

* An award or certificates of appreciation in the field of the applicant's work?- contribution to a major scientific research in the respective field of work?

* Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work?

* Membership in an organisation related to the field?- A PhD degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in his field?

* Specialisation in areas of priority to the UAE.

5-year visa without a sponsor

Eligibility for a 5-year visa without a sponsor

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 5-year residence visa in the UAE.

1. Investors

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

* The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than Dh5 million.

* The amount invested in real estate must not be on loan basis.

* The property must be retained for at least three years.

2. Entrepreneurs

* This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of Dh500,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

* The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months.

* The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner and three executives.

3. Outstanding Students

This includes:

* Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 per cent in public and private secondary schools

* University students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

Residence visa

The residence visa is the next step after securing an employment visa. Think of it as an evolution of the latter. To secure this, you'll need to get a medical test and apply for another document - the Emirates ID. The UAE Resident Identity Card certifies that the holder is a valid UAE resident. After the whole process is complete, you can now sponsor your family members and bring them into the country as well.

Employment visa

An employment visa, also known as a work permit, is issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. It's valid for two months from the date of issuance and you'll need one if you're looking to work in the UAE. As of late February, residents who are changing jobs in the UAE will no longer need a good conduct certificate for the visa if they are in the country.

Tourist visa

As it says on the tin, a tourist visa is used by travellers whose purpose in the country is for tourism. The visa permits the holder to stay in the country for 30 days. To get one, you'll need sponsorship by a UAE airline, hotel and tour operators. Each UAE airline offers visa services when you fly with them. Apart from that, travel agents and hotels can also arrange a tourist visa for you.

Visit visa

You'll need a friend or relative residing in the country to sponsor your UAE visit visa. They can apply for your visa at any GDRFA office across the emirate and the process takes a few days. After the visa is issued, your sponsor should send you a copy of your permit through fax or email. He should submit the original permit to the airport. When you arrive at the airport, you can collect it from there. It is necessary for you to receive a copy of your entry permit before you leave your country.

Transit visa

Have a connecting flight with a lengthy stopover? If you're just passing by, UAE airlines also issue transit visas valid for those whose stopover exceeds 8 hours. Passengers with transit visas must leave the country within 96 hours of arrival. If you have a shorter transit time, worry not! Dubai Airports recently proposed that transit passengers may soon be able to experience the city as part of the Dubai 10X initiative.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/general/uae-visa-guide-long-term-visa-residence-visa-tourist-visa-1

How to extend your 18-year-old son's UAE visa

To avail of the extension for a dependent, the parent must submit graduation certificates to the GDRFA.

My son is in Grade 11 in Sharjah. He will turn 18 on July 25, 2021. His current Dubai-issued visa is valid till March 7, 2020. When I renew his visa, will it be valid till March 7, 2022 or until he turns 18 on July 25, 2021?

As your son will still be a minor when the current residence visa expires on March 7, 2020, you - as a sponsor - may apply for the renewal of his dependent residence visa in the UAE. Such renewal of the dependant visa may be valid till its expiry on March 7, 2022.

Further, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced on June 26 that parents may apply for the one-year residency extension of their sons, who have completed their secondary or university education and are above 18 years of age.

Such residence visa is renewable for another year from the day the son graduated or on attaining 18 years of age.

To avail of this visa for your son, you need to submit your son's duly attested and legalised graduation certificates from a university, whether inside the country or abroad, to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and pay the respective visa cost. For further clarification, you may contact GDRFA.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/legalview/how-to-extend-your-18-year-old-sons-uae-visa-12

Etisalat C&WS, Sparkle deal to enable 5G roaming globally

Etisalat Carrier & Wholesale (C&WS) and Sparkle today announced the establishment of a 5G data roaming interconnection between Etisalat and TIM, paving the way for 5G roaming between Middle East and across the globe.

This strategic agreement will set the path for 5G and the global mobile and carrier community. While Expo 2020 was the first major commercial customer in MEASA to partner with Etisalat on 5G, Etisalat was also the first telecom operator to launch the first commercial 5G network in Mena.

Through its network rollout and the pioneering launch of the first 5G handset in the Mena, Etisalat managed to provide UAE customers with an opportunity to experience the power of 5G technology. Etisalat also empowered visitors at Abu Dhabi international airport with indoor ultra-high speed 5G connectivity, making it the first airport in the region with 5G coverage.

Ali Amiri, group chief carrier & wholesale, Etisalat, said: "5G is seen as a game changer with rich potential for the wholesale business bringing maximum opportunities with higher connection speeds, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities. This has enabled new use cases and applications positively impacting different industry sectors.

"The strategic partnership with TIM will enable mobile operators across the globe with superior roaming services and connectivity. With Etisalat's wide coverage roaming services covering 837 operators in 216 destinations and Smarthub IPX providing wide 4G coverage to more than 460 live LTE partners in 163 countries would play a pivotal role in enabling 5G for all our customers across international networks." - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/IT_357634.html

Dubai house rents see modest drop in H1

Median advertised apartment rents in Dubai were five per cent cheaper in the first half (H1) of 2019 compared to the same time last year, said Property Finder, a leading real estate services portal in the region.

The current average median annual rent for Dubai apartments is Dh79,650 ($21,680), added the report titled 'Property Finder Trends'. Compared to H1 2017, Dubai apartment rents are 21 per cent more affordable, in further evidence of how the city is moving towards more affordability.

The sustained decline in city-wide rents also applies to villas and townhouses in Dubai. Rents for Dubai villas/townhouses dipped 3.8 per cent compared to H2 2018; they are 8.6 per cent cheaper compared to the same time last year, according to 'Trends' magazine. The current average median annual rent for Dubai villas is Dh166,667.

While some of this decline could be attributed to new affordable villa stock hitting the market and dragging down the median, established communities also saw a dip in rents. With 19,449 new residential properties completed in Dubai during H1 2019, it will be some time before supply levels are absorbed.

"For the rental market, declines overall have seen a modest drop when comparing with prices from the last six months. The trend of being able to find bargains for everything from lower prices, an increased number of cheques as well as other incentives such as free utilities, are proving popular amongst renters," said Lynnette Abad, director of Data and Research, Property Finder.

Continued rent declines can be attributed in large to the amount of supply entering the Dubai market. 2018 saw the overall completion of 33,363 residential units, according to Data Finder statistics.

Most popular areas

For those looking to rent in the first half of 2019, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah and Al Barsha made the top five, in the same fashion as last year. In line with previous years, due to Dubai Marina's continued popularity, it pulled in around one and a half times the amount of demand as the next top searched community.

As more supply gets handed over in newer communities such as Town Square and Dubai Hills Estate, there is expected to be more rental demand in those areas as residents will spread out from the city centre looking for bargains and more bang for their buck.

Apartment communities that saw the biggest rent declines in H1 2019 were Town Square (-10.1 per cent), Motor City (-6.4 per cent), Culture Village (-6.2 per cent), Dubai Investment Park (-6.1 per cent) and Arjan (-5.7 per cent). The only areas where rents registered marginal growth were City Walk and World Trade Centre. Damac Hills, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai South and The Views clocked minor rent declines in the first half of this year.

Villa/townhouse communities where rent reduced the most in H1 2019 were The Meadows (-18.1 per cent), Green Community Motor City (-11.3 per cent), Reem Mira (-10 per cent), Al Furjan (-7.8 per cent) and Damac Hills (-7.5 per cent). Other villa communities such as Emirates Hills registered a healthy increase in rents (14.8 per cent), International City (1.8 per cent) and Jumeirah Park (1.2 per cent). - TradeArabia News Service

hhttp://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357390.html


First Saudi-owned and operated cinema opens in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia's first nationally-owned and operated cinema opened its doors to the public for the first time on Friday, according to local news reports.

The report in the Saudi Gazette revealed Muvi Cinemas' first venue at Mall of Arabia in Jeddah was inaugurated ahead of the opening by Saudi Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al Shabanah.

Muvi's first cinema in Jeddah accommodates 1,950 guests in 15 screens, and includes 21 seats catering to visitors with special needs.

A first-of-its-kind in the kingdom, the cinema also uses Barco high-resolution screens and the Dolby Atmos surround system, both of which are available in the 'Xperience' screen, which also offers seats with smartphone chargers and extended legroom.

Another of the cinema's features include 'ScreenX', in which films are shown via multiple projectors that create a panoramic image on the main screen and side walls simultaneously.

The Saudi Gazette report also notes that the cinema offers a 'suites' option which includes a private lounge to meet friends and family before films begin, luxurious motorised reclining leather seats, and a footrest.

Additionally, Muvi has plans to launch a 'junior screen' catering to children, which will include a slide to allow them access to their movie.

Muvi Cinemas plans to launch 250 screens across the country over the next 24 months.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/media/425941-first-saudi-owned-operated-cinema-opens-in-jeddah

Instant labor visa service launched

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development on Monday announced the launch of instant labor visa service through its qiwa electronic portal. This will enable those private sector firms, which achieved higher percentage of Saudization and full compliance of the ministry's regulations, to obtain visa instantly without going through the long recruitment process that takes normally around eight months. There are several prerequisites for private companies and establishments to enjoy this privilege and that includes career advertising, and fulfilling other requirements related to the size of the firm and the volume of contracts.

This service aims to achieve significant growth in Saudization rates through applying a formula of "localization versus instant recruitment", as it enables the employer to obtain any number of visas in the event of achieving higher rate of Saudization in the firm.

The ministry has set a number of conditions for obtaining the service, under which only those firms that are in the category of medium green and above in terms of the percentage of Saudization are eligible to avail off the service. The firm shall remain in the medium green category for 13 consecutive weeks or 26 intermittent weeks during the past 52 weeks. Similarly, the firm shall have a valid work permit and full compliance with the Wage Protection Program.

Through its recently launched qiwa platform, the ministry aims to make a quantum leap in the labor market with ensuring an enhanced efficiency of all sectors. Private employers can now register for the service via the standard link https://www.qiwa.sa/.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/574950/SAUDI-ARABIA/Instant-labor-visa-service-launched

Saudi Arabia raises price of petrol

The world's largest exporter of crude oil said domestic gasoline prices are subject to fluctuations due to changes in export prices to global markets.

Saudi state oil company Saudi Aramco on Sunday announced a 3.8% increase in prices for Octane 95 gasoline from SR 2.10 last quarter to SR2.18 and for Octane 91 from SR1.44 to SR1.53 per litre, according to a statement from the company.

The world's largest exporter of crude oil said domestic gasoline prices are subject to fluctuations due to changes in export prices to global markets, local media reported.

Despite OPEC partners restricting oil production, the kingdom last week awarded $18 billion in 34 contracts (half of them going to Saudi firms) to boost output capacity at two offshore deposits.

The company will add a total 550,000 barrels a day of capacity at its Marjan and Berri oil fields. It did not, however, identify the 16 companies that won the contracts or specify when the projects would be completed.

Saudi Aramco regularly produces 10 million barrels a day, but aims to produce 12 million daily in a bid to maintain spare capacity available for quick use in case of shortages.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/retail/423827-saudi-arabia-raises-price-of-petrol

International flights start from new Jeddah terminal

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced that first international flights from the new King Abdulaziz International Airport Terminal 1 in Jeddah will be launched today (Aug 9).

The first two destinations, operated by kingdom's national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines, will be Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Muscat International Airport in Oman will be the third destination, which will be added on August 10, a Saudi Press Agency report said.

Saudi Arabian Airlines had previously transferred the operation and flights of 21 of its domestic destinations to Terminal 1 at the New King Abdulaziz International Airport.

http://tradearabia.com/news/TTN_357544.html


Oman's first utility-scale wind farm starts op

The 50-megawatt (MW) Dhofar Wind Farm in Oman has produced its first kilowatt hour of electricity, marking a major milestone for the GCC region's first utility-scale wind farm.

The landmark wind farm, which is fully funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, was successfully connected to Oman's electricity transmission grid last week during the commissioning of the project's first wind turbine, which is now supplying clean power.

The remaining 12 wind turbines will be commissioned, tested and connected to the grid in sequence, ensuring the start of commercial operations before the end of 2019.

The project is being implemented by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) through an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) consortium of GE Renewable Energy and Spain's TSK. Once fully commissioned, the wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to supply 16,000 homes - equivalent to seven per cent of Dhofar Governorate's total power demand - and will offset an estimated 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, while reducing reliance on natural gas for domestic power generation.

He added: "Bringing Oman's 50-MW Dhofar Wind Farm online is yet another milestone in our 48-year development funding journey. Aimed at helping to achieve SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy - this strategic venture also contributes to enhancing Oman's energy output, while creating job opportunities and bolstering sustainable economic development in the country."

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: "Masdar is proud to have developed the first utility-scale wind farm in the GCC. The successful connection of the first wind turbine to the electricity transmission grid at the Dhofar Wind Farm is a major step for Oman and the country's ambitions to diversify its energy mix to include renewables. As a global leader in the development of commercially viable wind power, Masdar is committed to advancing clean-tech innovation both regionally and internationally by deploying the latest technologies at scale and enhancing their commercial viability."

The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) will be the off-taker, or purchaser of the generated power, from the Rural Areas Electricity Company of Oman (Tanweer), which is responsible for operating the wind power plant upon completion.

GE Renewable Energy has provided the project's 3.8-MW wind turbines, which have been built to withstand Oman's hot and arid desert conditions, while TSK is responsible for the remainder of the wind farm's infrastructure and electrical transmission facilities connecting the plant to the grid.

Dr Manar Al-Moneef, president and CEO, Onshore Wind, Mena and Turkey of GE Renewable Energy, said: "We have completed a huge milestone in the execution of the Dhofar Wind Farm by producing this first kilowatt-hour, first out of the 50MW that will power Oman's Dhofar Governorate with clean energy. Wind power is growing around the world and it is becoming a reliable and affordable source of green energy. We are proud to be working with Masdar and our partners to bring this technology to Oman and build the first utility-scale wind farm in the country."

Earlier this month, the consortium of EDF Renewables and Masdar announced that they had reached financial close on the 400-MW Dumat Al Jandal wind project in Saudi Arabia, the country's first utility-scale wind farm that will be the largest in the Middle East when completed. - TradeArabia News Service

http://tradearabia.com/news/CONS_357587.html

Pay and park' system at Al Sahwa Park from next month: Municipality

Muscat -

Muscat Municipality is all set to introduce the 'pay and park' system at Al Sahwa Park from September for better management of parking facilities in the area.

In the past, motorists and visitors to the park had asked the authorities that a proper system should be put in place as there are many who leave their vehicles parked there for days.

They had requested the authorities to intervene and segregate slots for buses, taxis as well as private cars with some even calling for the installation of parking meters.

According to the municipality, all motorists using the parking facilities have to pay at the meters. "Anyone who wants to park his or her car will have to pay. It will be operationalised beginning September," a municipality official told Muscat Daily.

Many have expressed their happiness on the move saying that order will prevail now.

Mohsin Rashid, a bus driver who uses the facilities almost every day, said, "There is no proper order in place. Buses, taxis and private vehicles are just parked randomly in the area. I believe once the system is in place, there will be order."

Al Sahwa Park is located near the Rusayl roundabout, which is one of the busiest intersections in the city. Many people who take buses to attend work in oil fields park their vehicles near the park for days.

"Often, I see vehicles covered in dust parked for days. The owners are usually those working in oil fields in the interiors who leave their vehicles for weeks as per their convenience. As a result, park goers struggle to find parking slots.

"I am happy now that I will be able to find a slot to park my vehicle easily as motorists will have to pay from next month onwards," Jamila al Asmi, a Mawaleh resident who visits the park almost every week, said.

https://muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Pay-and-park-system-at-Al-Sahwa-Park-from-next-month-Municipality-5fdm

Logistics giant Panalpina to open Oman office

Muscat -

Switzerland-based international freight forwarding and logistics company Panalpina is planning to establish its presence in Oman, leveraging the company's long-standing experience in project solutions and energy sector to support the sultanate's burgeoning economic and infrastructural growth.

Panalpina Oman expects to open its office in Muscat by the end of the third quarter in 2019, the company said in a statement on its website.

'Oman's government is aiming to diversify the economy and is focusing on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, mining, public utilities and manufacturing. Together with a growing number of large infrastructure projects and its transhipment hub for Qatar, Oman is fast becoming the latest business hotspot within the Middle East region,' Panalpina said.

'Riding on that economic growth, Panalpina is establishing its presence in Oman to leverage its proven expertise in handling large-scale and complex major moves for energy and capital infrastructure projects,' the company added.

Panalpina said that it recently completed the registration of Panalpina Oman with a minority shareholding partner - the Daoud Group, a family-owned Omani business conglomerate.

Charles Francis, Panalpina's country manager for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, said, "Oman has become a pivotal geographical location for cargo flows to and from Qatar. Unlike some of the GCC countries, Oman has not introduced economic sanctions and its trade with Qatar has increased by more than three times since the embargo started two years ago."

Panalpina's operations in Oman were previously handled by an agent. Panalpina Oman will now cover core activities such as air freight, ocean freight and customs clearance.

Panalpina Group operates a global network with some 500 offices in around 70 countries, and it works with partner companies in another 100 countries.

https://muscatdaily.com/Archive/Business/Logistics-giant-Panalpina-to-open-Oman-office-5fdf

Oman residents can now lodge human rights complaints via WhatsApp

The commission received 163% more complaints in 2018 (50 complaints) compared to 2017 (19 complaints), its annual report shows, with most cases related to residency, work, personal freedom and social security.

You can now make a complaint to the Oman Human Rights Commission through a WhatsApp message.

The authority said in a statement, "Citizens and residents can communicate via WhatsApp with the Monitoring and Complaints Department of the Oman Human Rights Commission and submit their reports to the phone number 72221966."

The service was introduced to ease the processing of complaints, Ahmed Al Rashdi, Director of the Monitoring and Complaints Department at OHRC told Times of Oman.

The commission received 163% more complaints in 2018 (50 complaints) compared to 2017 (19 complaints), its annual report shows, with most cases related to residency, work, personal freedom and social security.

Over half of complains in 2018 were related to economic and cultural rights, while the remaining were related to civil and political rights.

The rise in complaints is largely due to educational programmes implemented by the commission OHRC to raise awareness about available channels in which residents can hand in their complaints and guarantee their rights by law.

Plaintiffs were initially asked to take the reports to the commission's office in person, before a mailbox was designed for the service, followed by a hot line, an electronic reporting service on the authority's website and now a WhatsApp number.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/culture-society/425392-oman-residents-can-now-lodge-human-rights-complaints-via-whatsapp

No plans to delay introduction of VAT in Oman, says finance ministryp

Oman has said it is to introduce the new tax in accordance with its GCC agreement.

Oman's Ministry of Finance has said there are no plans to postpone the implementation of value added tax (VAT) in the country.

Oman agreed to introduce VAT in 2018, as part of the GCC Unified Agreement, although it later delayed its implementation to 2019.

Citing a bond prospectus, Reuters reported that Oman "expected VAT to be implemented in 2021".

The Sultanate's Ministry of Finance, however, issued a statement to Oman News Agency - under a headline of 'No plans to postpone VAT' - and said it planned to introduce the new tax in accordance with its GCC agreement.

"The Ministry of Finance affirmed that it is going to apply the value added tax (VAT) in compliance with the GCC unified agreement to apply this tax at the level of the GCC countries," said the statement said.

The ministry said the government is working on completing the legislative procedures to issue the VAT law, and that the Secretariat General of Taxation is currently completing the administrative, technical and technological equipment in preparation for applying this tax once it is approved.

Reducing the deficit

Addressing concerns about the current state of Oman's finances, the ministry said various financial measures, including spending control, have had a positive impact.

"The Sultanate will continue taking a number of financial procedures in aspects related to revenue and public expenditure in a bid to achieve fiscal balance of public finance," a statement said.

"The financial accounts of the Sultanate indicate that the financial measures taken have achieved positive results in controlling government spending and reducing the annual deficit in return for an increase in government revenues."

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Oman should work harder to implement economic reforms, including adjusting government expenditure and expediting the implementation of VAT.

According to a recent report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and Oxford Economics, Oman's economy is expected to experience modestly weaker growth of 2.8 percent this year, down from an estimated 3.3 percent in 2018 but up from the 0.9 percent drop in 2017.

The slowdown is partly driven by forecast oil prices of $67 per barrel, down 5.6 percent from 2018's average. An estimated 60 percent of Oman's total budget revenue comes from oil revenue.

"The slump in oil prices has put significant pressure on Oman in the last year," said Maya Senussi, ICAEW economic advisor and senior economist for Middle East at Oxford Economics. "There is a dire need for an improvement in the non-oil sector and delaying the introduction of VAT has had a significant effect on the fiscal deficit."

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/425134-no-plans-to-delay-introduction-of-vat-in-oman-says-finance-ministry

Oman extends visa ban on hiring expats

Oman had extended the ban earlier in July to include carpenters, metallurgy workers, blacksmiths and brick kiln workers.

Oman's Ministry of Manpower has extended the temporary visa ban on hiring expats to include four more professions in the private sector, reported the Times of Oman.

The ban which is part of the Sultanate's Omanisation process will be extended for six months beginning August 5, 2019, according to the ministry.

It will apply to jobs in the sectors of IT, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, management and human resources, insurance, media, medical, airports and engineering.

The period of the ban on permits to bring temporary expatriate manpower into private sector establishments for the professions specified in Ministerial Decision No. 73/2019, shall continue for a period of six months from August 5, 2019," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Oman had extended the ban earlier in July to include carpenters, metallurgy workers, blacksmiths and brick kiln workers.

In March this year, the Sultanate announced the establishment of a new National Centre for Employment (NCE), a plan to replace expats with Omanis in various sectors.

According to a report in the Times of Oman, the centre - which will come into effect on January 1 2020 - will open branches in various parts of Oman to suggest qualified Omani jobseekers for various positions before the Ministry of Manpower approves requests for labour permits to fill positions.

The move means that if a company files a request for an expat visa, the centre will first determine whether there are any qualified Omanis to fill the roll.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/424842-oman-extends-visa-ban-on-hiring-expats


Recruitment of expats based on local needs: Aqeel

Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel yesterday said the recruitment of foreign workers to the country is based on labor contracts and according to the needs of the local market. "Figures circulated recently in the media about the entry of large numbers of the Egyptian community monthly to the country are incorrect," Aqeel told reporters at the headquarters of the General Secretariat for Planning.

She stressed statistics show the real monthly rate of entry of this community to Kuwait is between 1,400 and 2,200 people per month in the private sector. Aqeel noted the total work permits for Egyptian workers issued in 2018 amounted to 62,000, while 23,000 were canceled in 2018, pointing out that Egyptians who entered the government sector last year amounted to 577 workers, mostly teachers.

Regarding the implantation of the new national labor percentages in the private sector, Aqeel affirmed that the postponement of the application of the new decision was due to technical reasons, and work is underway to reclassify work and amend regulations in cooperation with the ministry of commerce and industry. Aqeel stressed the readiness of the bodies affiliated to her ministry to achieve more during the coming period,

whether with regards to the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development or the General Authority for Manpower and other bodies. - KUNA

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/recruitment-of-expats-based-on-local-needs-aqeel/

Ministry to avoid local contracting with expat teachers for next year

KUWAIT: Official sources said the Ministry of Education will not open local contracting with expat teachers for the upcoming school year, because its contracts with teachers from abroad and appointments of Kuwaiti teachers meets the need and covers what the school year and new schools need. The sources said the education ministry does not want to repeat violations attributed to it from the Civil Service Commission when it contracted expat teachers who arrived in Kuwait not as teachers - rather they were registered for other jobs.

The sources said the education ministry is thinking about banning local contracting in the coming years and limit it to Kuwaitis, children of Kuwaiti women and Gulf nationals only, and as for expats, they will not have a chance except in cases of extreme need.

Meanwhile, the ministry's administrative sector asked its departments to prepare lists of expat employees who are to be terminated, be they teachers or administrators, as per the Cabinet's decision to Kuwaitize the government sector, expecting the list to include more than 400 expats of both genders.

In other news, the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) denied any stoppage in the MEW-PAY application with regards to enquiry and payment services. Leaked information earlier indicated that MEW Minister Khalid Al-Fadhel asked for the halting of the application in its trial phase for more investigation to ensure authors' rights.

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/ministry-to-avoid-local-contracting-with-expat-teachers-for-next-year/

Clean criminal record certificate required for expats working in NGOs

Govt looks to cut expenses in staff annual bonuses

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs plans to ask NGOs to obtain a clean criminal record certificate from expatriates who wish to work for them in order to make sure that they are not affiliated with any organizations, groups or activities that in contrary to the rules and regulations of those NGOs, which the ministry supervises. The ministry made this new condition after investigations following the arrest of Egyptians in Kuwait wanted on terrorism charges in their home country revealed that they have work visas issued by some NGOs in Kuwait, said sources familiar with the new circular.

Meanwhile, the ministry said aid payments were not stopped to those eligible to receive them; rather they were stopped for those who did not renew their documents, besides those who should be suspended because of changing their social and financial status. They said the suspension is precautionary and temporary until the required documents are submitted. It said the ministry did not and will not stop any payments until beneficiaries are contacted and asked to submit required documents.

Employees' bonuses

Rewards for excellent work that ministries and other state departments pay to employees each year will be reduced by half, informed sources said. According to the sources, employees should next year notice that the total value of rewards will drop by 40 to 50 percent because of new conditions, most important of which is employees' compliance with attendance, as those who do not comply with the biometric access system for at least 180 days will not receive their bonus and cannot file grievances over the issue.

The sources said the biometric system will be the first condition for the reward and is the approach to other conditions that guarantee productivity and the extent of compliance with working hours. They said that the majority of rewards will be for Kuwaitis, as non-Kuwaiti employees will have another system. The reward will be according to the allocated budget and managers' input. Sources said the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and State Audit Bureau noticed many loopholes in payments of excellent work bonuses, and money was given to those who do not deserve it, so the rewards will be linked with CSC to follow their compliance.

School preparations

Education Minister Hamed Al-Azmi told education ministry officials that any dereliction in preparations for the upcoming school year will mean they will be forced out of their jobs or sent for involuntary retirement. Official sources said Azmi asked ministry undersecretaries and education zone managers to follow preparations directly in the field and not from their offices. He asked the general education undersecretary and zone directors to complete preparations two weeks before the start of the school year. The sources said direct instructions were given to undersecretaries to provide all school needs, such as air conditioners, tables and teachers' desks before the middle of August, and directed that contracts be signed with cleaning companies to provide the necessary labor before the start of the school year. The sources said the curriculum sector received most schoolbooks for the school year from print shops, while some are still being printed. The sources added that new teachers from Tunisia, Palestine and Jordan will arrive in Kuwait after the Eid-Al-Adha holiday, adding that a special committee will receive them.

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/clean-criminal-record-certificate-required-for-expats-working-in-ngos/
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