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The Middle East luxury brands industry has rapidly expanded in recent years, driven by rising global consumption and major strides in online retail sales and marketing. These developments have also brought new challenges for the industry as companies face more stringent regulations as well as complex corporate and employment issues as they expand into new markets. As luxury goods companies gather large amounts of customer information, data protection has also become a major concern. Join Baker McKenzie for an update on the employment and data protection laws for luxury brands in the Middle East on 8 February 2023 from 2:00 – 3:00pm GST.

In this vlog series, our MENA team of cross-practice specialists provide a quick roundup of the latest legal and commercial developments in the region as well as insights to emerging challenges and opportunities, to guide you as you shape your organization’s business resilience and strategy in the medium and long term. In addition, our senior female lawyers from our BakerWomen Middle East team join the conversations and share their insights on business and inclusion issues and trends in the region, as together we look to build trust and well-being in a post-pandemic world.

On 20 November 2022, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the Personal Data Protection Law, promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/19, dated 09/02/1443H, which was originally published on 24 September 2021.
The public consultation will remain open up until 20 December 2022 and all organizations are invited to submit their comments by that date.

On 10 March 2022, the National Data Management Office (NDMO) published for consultation a draft of the executive regulations (“Regulations”) to the Personal Data Protection Law, promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/19, dated 09/02/1443H (PDPL). The consultation invites comments on the Regulations and will close on 25 March 2022. The timing suggests that the publication of the final version of the Regulations is likely to occur later than the previously advised date of 23 March 2022.

On 24 September 2021, the long anticipated Personal Data Protection Law, promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/19, dated 09/02/1443H (corresponding to 16 September 2021), was published in the Saudi Official Gazette. The Law was developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, which will be the competent governmental authority to administer the Law for a period of two years but it may thereafter transfer such competence to the National Data Management Office.

Employers have been facing many difficult and untested employment law issues over the last year and a half with COVID-19 and the impact it is having on their business. One of the most critical of these issues is whether they can make vaccination compulsory for their employees. On 7 May 2021, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (“MHRSD”) announced that it would be mandatory for public and private sector workers to be vaccinated in order to attend the workplace. On 18 May 2021, the Ministry of Interior (“MoI”) clarified that this mandate would come into force on 1 August 2021.

On 26 March 2021 Saudi Arabia’s long awaited Privatisation Law was published, promulgated by Council of Ministers’ Resolution No. 436 dated 3/8/1442H (corresponding to 16 March 2021) and Royal Decree M/63 dated 5/8/1442H (corresponding to 18 March 2021) (the “Privatisation Law”). The Privatisation Law will come into effect 120 days after publication, and will provide a transparent and flexible regulatory framework for the procurement and documentation of Public Private Partnership projects (“PPPs”) and existing asset privatisations (“Asset Privatisations”) in the Kingdom (“Privatisation Projects”).

On April 8, 2021, the US Treasury Department published an updated List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With An International Boycott (the “Treasury List”). Significantly, Treasury announced that it had removed the UAE from the Treasury List following the UAE’s repeal of its law requiring participation with the Arab League Boycott of Israel and subsequent implementation of the new policy.

On 4 November 2020, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) announced certain labor reforms for foreign national employees working in the private sector that will come into effect on 14 March 2021. Since the initial announcement, the MHRSD (in coordination with the National Transformation Program and National Information Center) announced the conditions in order to benefit from each of the initiatives.