Saudi Arabia halts visa issuance to Dutch nationals over anti-Islam stickers

2 Jun 14

NETHERLANDS, SAUDI ARABIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Saudi government has imposed sanctions on Dutch companies and visa applicants in response to a Dutch politician’s printing of anti-Islam stickers.

What does the change mean? A Saudi royal decree has ordered Saudi companies to cease doing business with Dutch companies and directed the Saudi Embassy to limit the number of visas issued to Dutch nationals only to those deemed essential to Saudi Arabia.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Dutch companies and Dutch workers assigned to Saudi Arabia.
  • Impact on processing times: 
  • Business impact: Business will suffer forDutch companies that seek to do business in Saudi Arabia.

Background: Last December, Dutch politician Geert Wilders printed stickers containing anti-Islam slogans on the image of a Saudi flag. Wilders founded and leads the Party for Freedom, a far-right, anti-immigration party.

In response, the Saudi government issued a royal decree, made public last month by the Mecca Chamber of Commerce, that orders Saudi firms to stop working with Dutch companies on future projects in Saudi Arabia. The decree also stated that visas will only be issued to Dutch companies and investors involved in projects vital to the kingdom. It also calls for trade delegations between the two countries to stop.

BAL Analysis: This will have a direct impact on Dutch companies registered in Saudi Arabia. Dutch firms will no longer be encouraged to apply for business or investor licenses and will no longer be awarded with Saudi government projects. The Saudi Embassy and Consulates in the Netherlands will take longer to make decisions on granting any visas and might reject the majority of visa application with no further justification.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Saudi Arabia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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