This week’s international HR headlines: visa changes in Saudi Arabia, parental leave in Hong Kong and local talent in Singapore

27 Oct 2017 By PM Editorial

The top stories from People Management’s international websites

1. Saudi Arabia halves duration of visas for foreign workers

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has announced that the length of visas for overseas workers in private sector organisations will be cut from two years to one. The decision was reportedly made on the basis that article 11 of the Labor Law enables the ministry to make any changes it deems necessary to improve labour market efficiency.

2. Extension to maternity leave in Hong Kong could take years

Chief executive Carrie Lam has announced proposals to extend maternity and paternity leave, but it could be years before new mums, in particular, benefit from any changes. Current government guidelines dictate that statutory maternity leave entitlement for pregnant female employees in Hong Kong is 10 weeks, but campaigners have been calling for it to be increased to the international standard of 14 weeks. Paternity leave looks set to rise from three days to five.

3. Employees value more than just money in the UAE

The standardisation of employee health cover in the UAE has meant that organisations now need to offer something a bit different if they want to stand out, according to MetLife’s 2017 Employee Benefit Trends Study. Some of the most appealing employee benefits were dental and optical cover, medical discount cards for family and a retirement or pension plan.

4. Singapore businesses urged not to rely on foreign labour

The city-state’s Ministry of Manpower has said it is keen to make sure that employers consider Singaporeans fairly for local jobs when recruiting. There are currently nearly 300 companies on its Fair Consideration Framework Watchlist, which it introduced last year for companies not giving local workers a fair shot.

5. More vocational courses at UAE universities

Graduates of universities in the UAE are missing out on vocational training, according to education experts at a recent Higher Education Forum, who questioned whether students were being adequately prepared for the world of work. Speakers reported that graduates wanted a 'better student experience', 'stronger industry links' and a 'fully digital environment'.

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