International employment law › Employment Law in the Gulf Cooperation Council Region

Employment Law in the Gulf Cooperation Council Region *NEW*

Navigate the employment laws and cultural challenges of doing business in the Arab States of the Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Learn the laws, customs, etiquettes and ethics.

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+44 (0)20 3319 5725 for dates.

Price: £999 + VAT    
Special offers

Our comprehensive and interactive 'Employment Law Gulf Cooperation Council' 2-seminar provides a comprehensive overview of the employment laws and Business Culture in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

UK and European organisations are increasingly operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and employing both expatriate and local workers. In order for HR professionals to effectively recruit and retain employees in the Gulf States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE it is vital they understand the laws governing both employment relationships and customers, underpinning the day-to-day working environment.

It is also imperative that all firms who operate in the Gulf Cooperation Council region have an understanding of the customs, protocols and ethics that underpin Middle Eastern business culture. The success or failure of Middle Eastern operations will often depend on the extent to which both international and regional managers understand and engage with the local ‘modus operandi’.

This seminar is led by Sara Khoja, a leading lawyer practicing in the Gulf region. It examines the key employment law and cultural issues that HR professionals and in-house legal counsel need to understand, and how best to work with colleagues and clients from across the GCC member states.

Speakers from:

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  • Authoritative overview of employment law in the Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Gain an appreciation of local employment law issues and cultural differences
  • Get access to reliable information on employment conditions, policies and procedures
  • What are the key ways in which international organisations can operate and do business in the Middle East?  
  • Key tenets of Shariah law and its importance in the Middle East 
  • Dealing with bureaucracy / notarisations and attestations 
  • The importance of the spoken word over the written agreement 
  • Appointments and meetings: etiquette and protocols  
  • The role of entertaining in the middle eastern business environment  

Speakers from:

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09:00    Registration and coffee

09:30    An introduction to the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council

  • What is the Middle East, the Arab World, and the GCC, and how do they operate
  • Legislative framework and governance
  • Distinguishing features
  • Similarities and differences between the GCC countries
  • How is the GCC perceived, and why (and how) is business being done there?

Company structures and hierarchies

  • Types of business entity/structure open to international organisations to do business in the GCC
  • Licensing and regulatory issues
  • Notarisations and attestations
  • Free Zones
  • Commercial agencies
  • Dealing with conflicts and disputes / Criminal penalties


 An overview of Middle East culture and practices

  • Personal Relationships: knowing who you are dealing with
  • Implications of Islam on Middle Eastern culture
  • Key tenets of Shariah law and its importance in the Middle East
  • Tolerance and understanding: how and where to practice it
  • Hospitality and entertaining
  • Ramadan

Doing business - the importance of personal relationships

  • KYC
  • What does success depend upon
  • Working Practices and the Working Week
  • Structure and Hierarchy in Middle Eastern companies
  • Workforce nationalization and then employment of foreigners

Appointments and meetings - etiquette and protocols

  • Body language do's and don'ts
  • Lefts and Rights
  • Timekeeping and punctuality
  • Breaking for prayer times
  • What to expect in the meeting / The typical structure and format of meetings
  • Bargaining and haggling

13:00    Lunch

14:00     Introduction to employment law in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

  • Legal system and employment legislation in the GCC
  • Free zone rules and regulations

Recruitment and Sponsorship

  • Employer registrations
  • Recruitment of nationals
  • Work permit and residency visa application process
  • Recruiting a non national locally
  • Business visas and other visas


The employment relationship and employment contracts

  • Terms and conditions of employment contracts
  • Types of employment contract
  • Recruitment and references

 Employment Terms and Conditions

  • Probation and notice
  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Working time
  • Holidays and special leave
  • Holiday and sickness pay

 Employee Benefits

  • Wage structures
  • Wages protection system
  • End of service Gratuity
  • Pension and Social Security
  • Private Medical Insurance
  • Employee Incentives

16:30     End of day one


09:00    Registration and coffee

09:30     Employee Benefits

  • Wage structures
  • Wages protection system
  • End of service Gratuity
  • Pension and Social Security
  • Private Medical Insurance
  • Employee Incentives

Workplace Policies and Procedures

  • Mandatory Policies
  • Disciplinary
  • Grievance
  • Health and Safety
  • Practical Considerations



  • Immigration considerations
  • Jurisdictional issues
  • Employment law and regulation

13:00     Lunch

14:00     Termination of Employment and HR considerations

  • Reason for Termination
  • Process and Procedure
  • Fixed Term Contracts
  • Unlimited Term Contracts
  • Gross Misconduct
  • Remedy for unfair dismissal
  • Disputes Process
  • Post termination restrictions
  • Other issues

Workforce Nationalisation and Collective Consultation

Current trends and developments

  • Liberalising the sponsorship system
  • Discrimination provisions
  • Collective consultation
  • Workforce nationalisation

16:30     End of seminar

Sara Khoja Sara Khoja

Sara Khoja

I qualified in England and Wales in 2002 and specialises in employment law. I joined Clyde and Co's Dubai office in 2008 establishing the specialist team. I provide employment advice for the Middle East region, in particular the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council member states.

I have worked with multinational clients in a variety of sectors but with a primary focus on the oil & gas, the hospitality, the technology media and telecommunications, the professional services and the insurance sectors. I provide advice on all aspects of employment law, including recruitment, termination, terms and conditions of employment (benefits, bonuses, and remuneration), and the application of quotas and training requirements for the employment of nationals in various AGCC countries.

I also have a particular focus on multi-jurisdictional projects (including advising on restructures, sales of a business as a going concern and employee status issues) as well as issues arising out of employee mobilization/international assignments and including the territorial reach of UK employment law.

I regularly presents at seminars and workshops as part of Clyde and Co's regular client programme; and at external events organized by various business councils and HR consultancy firms. I have written for a number of publications, including the New Law Journal, Asian Counsel, Solicitors Journal, and Personnel Today. I am also regularly quoted in publications such as Gulf News, Gulf Business, Emirates 24/7 and has spoken on Dubai Eye.

I have contributed UAE chapters to the International Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook (published by Kluwer Law International and the IBA); Corporate Immigration (published by the Oxford University Press) and Compensating Mobile Executives (published by Taxmann).

HR directors, HR managers, employment law advisers, employee relations professionals, Anyone who has, or expects to have, responsibility for overseas staff in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) region.

Pre-course Questionnaire

Special offers

Multiple booking discount

Receive a 20% discount when you book more than one event, or book more than one person on the same event. Please note this discount only applies to the lesser priced booking and when all bookings are placed together.

Registered charities

You are entitled to a 25% discount on your booking if you are a registered charity. This discount will show on your invoice once your booking is submitted. You will need your charity registration number for the booking form.

Technology is bringing about seismic shifts in how we communicate on both a personal and business level. This is particularly evident in how learning is consumed and JSB is committed to delivering its L&D services in a way that optimises all appropriate technology.

In each case participants receive a documentation pack which includes any presentation material alongside a supporting narrative giving useful background information.

Choose the right approach for you:

Face-to-face attendance

The most valuable form of learning delivery continues to be the face-to-face classroom-based event. Engaging with expert speakers and fellow participants in relaxed two-way discussion in a distraction-free environment offers a valuable and practical learning experience.

All JSB programmes take place in top venues in central London and participants report that they greatly value the opportunities that these events provide for learning and networking.

Virtual classroom participation

We frequently welcome participants from overseas to our London events. However, we recognise that HR professionals who are responsible for managing workforces in these countries will not always be able to make the financial and time investment necessary to attend JSB events when they run in London. You will have the opportunity to submit questions to the speaker throughout the event and will get access to the slides and documentation in exactly the same way as those in the room. All you need is a standard domestic broadband connection.

On demand access

Should you find that you can’t wait until the next event on your chosen topic, you can access a full recording of a recent live event. Again, full slides and documentation will be provided. This is an option for those who cannot attend an event on a particular day. Moreover if the learning is to be of practical value it is often the case that even those who participated on the day welcome the opportunity of accessing the material in the weeks and months following the event. It’s a great way to share content with colleagues too.

What next?

Go to our booking form and when you select the event you wish to book on, simply choose the option that best suits you. If you are interested in the on demand access, please get in touch to find out more.

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