In case one is seeking to set up a business entity in Saudi Arabia, then a GRO (Government Relations Officer) is critical for conducting one’s day-to-day business. Companies need to hire either a GRO or outsource the function to GRO service in Saudi Arabia.
In the case of most businesses that are new to the country, the concept of GRO may be totally new and unheard of. But in case they have operated in the Middle East, they would have encountered a related concept called PRO (Public Relations Officer).
What is a GRO?
The role of the GRO is to handle all the activities for the official submission of legal documents such as official employee paperwork, company licenses, and visa processing.
Thus, a GRO is a Saudi national who manages all the processes of government relations. The GRO professional or company supervise the complete process from applications, document collection, translation, attestation, setting up accounts on websites of the Saudi government, and visiting government offices.
The GRO must be fluent in English and Arabic, hold a valid KSA driving license, and have a wide knowledge of Saudi labour law. Hiring a GRO will help in avoiding errors and delays all through official processes and staying up to date with fresh regulations and laws that may impact one’s organization.
GROs also ensure that all employees who join your company comply with regulations and employment laws of the Saudi government. They work in tandem with one’s HR team and will have total responsibility for all matters related to labour laws.
GROs work closely with teams for recruitment to ensure that all documents are completed and received on schedule, visas are approved, and the company stays totally compliant. GROs will deal directly with government departments as regards sponsorships, licenses, and visas.
Managing GRO work can be time-consuming as well as frustrating, particularly if one has limited in-house resources. GROs are required to have sufficient experience in the procedures and needs of every government department for ensuring the meeting of deadlines and avoiding fines & delays. The GRO needs to be updated with all fresh nuances of government regulations and have the skills to implement them in one’s company.
Because of such complicated procedures, GRO functions may be tough to implement in-house. By outsourcing, this function to a GRO service organization in Saudi Arabia can help one focus on more important tasks of one’s business.
Role of GRO
There are numerous aspects of the role of GROs, but the main ones can include the following:
- Arrange renewal of licenses of the company
- Submit documents to the Ministry of Labour for visa applications
- Submit documents to gain licenses
- Represent one’s organization in locations such as Airports, Police stations, Municipalities, Ministries, and embassies.
- Help with renewal and registration of company vehicles.
- Arrange attestation of qualifications of employees
- Update records of information about visa administration
- Offer continual advice and updates in regard to new rules of government departments.
- Paying all fees like those for visa transfers, labour office, medical tests, bank guarantees, and labour cards.
- Preparing letters of invitation.
- Obtain and organize registrations with Chambers of commerce, Zakat certificates, Saudization certificates etc.
- Liaise with Labour, Immigration, and other government departments for work permits, Iqamas, and visas for all employees.
Needs To Be A GRO
Apart from abilities for such above functions, the GRO must have the following:
- GROs need to be Saudi nationals
- They need to write and speak English and Arabic
- They must have a valid KSA driving license
- They need to have good access to government departments and strong networks.
- They must have wide knowledge of labour laws of KSA.
IMPORTANCE OF GRO
Staying compliant in Saudi Arabia is a vital part of doing business in the Kingdom. High degree of compliance not only gains many benefits from the government such as a platinum Nitaqat rating, but it also reduces potential legal risks.
GRO has an understanding of the Saudi market and the needs for compliance, based on one’s industry, its regulations and type of industry. He will ensure that one is able to attain licenses, visas and permits for staying compliant. The GRO will also manage timelines for ensuring that renewals of visas and licenses are completed in a timely manner and avoid penalties.
The GRO will help in minimizing risks of legal nature, since errors in the administration of government processes are caused often when the services of inexperienced staff are used and lead to delays or penalties. By making use of GRO, the in-house staff will be focused on their competencies and lower legal risks for the sake of one’s business, by ensuring correct completion of processes.
Because the Saudi market continues to evolve and new reforms are implemented, the constant change can be challenging for operations of the company. As such, companies will face issues of adapting to such changes. GROs are constantly updated with Saudi laws and regulations, permitting them to respond faster and help avoid confusion. One’ s company will adhere to Saudi market standards so that one can operate as a trustworthy organization in the Kingdom.
In case one wishes to keep business/ company compliant with the Saudi Arabian government, it is good to have a GRO to support one. Since the GRO is a local person, he has a good understanding of the local market and is an expert at keeping the company compliant with the government and market.
The main decision is regarding how to hire a GRO for one’s business. One option is to hire a person for operating in-house. But experts in Saudi Arabia recommend that it is easier to outsource the work to a professional PRO company rather than hiring in-house.
Hence, the best option for a company is to partner with a GRO outsourcing company and enjoy benefits, without investing a hefty amount in planning their infrastructure, benefits and salary. One’s company will thus have an excellent quality GRO payroll service and a positive relationship with government departments in Saudi Arabia.
In sum, GRO service companies in Saudi Arabia are updated with Saudi laws and regulations, permitting them to respond fast and helping companies to adapt quickly without any confusion. They are thus the best link between businesses and the Saudi government.