Tuesday, 15 Jan 2013
Overseas Business Risk – Saudi Arabia
Political and Economic
Saudi Arabia is a country of concern as outlined in the annual FCO Human Rights report. Within Saudi society there are limited protections for the rights of overseas workers. All foreign workers are required to have a sponsor in order to operate within Saudi Arabia and it is common practice for this to involve surrendering their passport. We are aware of reports of abuse of this position of power, particularly in the context of most sponsorships being non-transferrable within country. In common with all non-Muslims, foreign workers have restricted access to practice other religions.
Freedom of association and Assembly are also restricted under Saudi law; labour unions and other organisations for collective bargaining are not permitted.
Clear distinctions exist in most workplaces between the roles available to men and women. Workplace segregation is commonplace, as are explicit restrictions on women in a number of roles. There is no workplace discrimination related legislation in place.
Bribery and Corruption
Businessman reading newspaper
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.
In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.