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working in Saudi Arabia - Rules, Regulations and Laws

By Edited Oct 1, 2016 1 0

What are the Rules, Laws and Regulations to be followed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

If you are going to be working in Saudi Arabia then you need to be aware of the many rules and regulations that are in place in this highly religious country, especially if you are a woman!

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is far removed from what you are used to in the west, or even the eastern world, there are few of the freedoms that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

Alcohol in Saudi Arabia

Alcohol is a total no no, you cannot drink or possess alcohol in any form, you will not even find mouthwash containing alcohol. If you are caught with alcohol or even worse selling booze then you are likely to be in big trouble and jailed for a considerable length of time. Despite this alcohol is quite freely available on the compounds and many of the Saudis that I know have a bottle or two of black label in their home!

Most booze that you will find is of the home brew variety and can be of very dubious quality and even dangerous! You will find home brew beers and wines as well as "Sidique" or "Sid" which is almost pure alcohol localy distilled - often containing impurities such as methanol so beware.


What to wear in Saudi Arabia

If you are a woman then you should at all times be covered from head to foot by an Abaya in public, it is not acceptable to wear western clothes in a public place and show bare flesh. The rules require that hair is also covered although many foreigners and even some Arab women ignore this rule. However if you are told to cover your hair make sure that you do or you could still fall foul of the law!

Things are a lot more relaxed for men, however sleeveless vests and shorts above the knee should be avoided in public.


Pornography in Saudi Arabia

What you and I would consider pornography is quite different from what is considered porn in Saudi Arabia, if you go into the supermarket you will see that someone has taken a black marker pen to your favorite cereal box to cover over the woman showing off her lovely slim figure to advertise the low fat advantages of the brand, naked exposed flesh on women is not acceptable. Beware what you take into the country in the way of magazines, what you may consider harmless they may consider porn, and even if you don't get arrested you may be delayed considerably at the airport!


Pork in Saudi Arabia

You will not find a Bacon sandwich anywhere in the country (unless you are very lucky) as pork and pork products are banned, do not try to bring pork into the country in your luggage either!


Segregation of the Sexes in Saudi Arabia

It is not legal for a woman to be alone with a man who is not her direct blood relative (Son, Father, Brother) or her Husband, failure to observe this rule will get you imprisoned and lashes! This is a very important rule here in Saudi! If you are caught as a woman with men you are likely to not just be accused of this crime but likely to be accused of prostitution and any other crime they can think of!

As to men, it will depend very much on your nationality as to how you are treated, if you are from a third world country like India you are likely to be jailed also, from the west you MAY escape with a slap on the wrist!

Don't get accused of adultery, the sentence if convicted is death by stoning! There is (allegedly) a case here in Saudi of a woman who was gang raped being sentenced to death as she was married and it was therefore adultery!

In work the sexes are usually kept apart (if there are any woman working there at all), they have their own work area and facilities. You will see in places like banks that there are separate entrances for the women as there are in restaurants!


Drugs in Saudi Arabia

If you want to be sentenced to death then get caught with drugs! Don't be so stupid it is not worth it!


Having Fun in Saudi Arabia

There are many rules and regulations within the country, however what goes on behind closed doors or on the many compounds within the kingdom is generally ignored! But don't make so much noise that they come to investigate!!



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