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Labor Ministry panel to study expat fee

The Ministry of Labor has formed a committee to study the consequences of imposing the new expat fees. The committee is expected to find solutions to this controversial resolution which has been rejected by Saudi businessmen.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the ministry has no intention of canceling the resolution which raises the annual expat fee to SR 2,400 ($620), but it is trying to come up with new detailed decisions that would satisfy the private sector and at the same time find a way to raise the employment rate among Saudi citizens in this sector. Companies that employ more Saudis than expats may be granted special privileges according to the new detailed decisions.
Knowledgeable sources said the committee will take into consideration the consequences of the resolution.
Meanwhile, many chambers of commerce alluded to a price increase if the ministry insisted on imposing the fees.
And businessmen in the contracting sector still refuse to implement the resolution. They urged the ministry to cancel it and carefully study an alternative before it is implemented.
Sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “there will be a new resolution concerning expat fees which may satisfy some businessmen."
On the other hand, the sources estimated that the private sector is expected to pay the Ministry of Labor about SR 10 billion in increased expat fees after its introduction this year. In the mean time, the Council of Saudi Chambers is preparing a detailed report on the consequences of the resolution on foreign labor.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the fee will be imposed on about 4 million expats. Only companies with more than 50 percent Saudi employees are exempted from this resolution.
The contracting sector will foot most of this bill. It is expected to pay more than SR 5 billion. Mubarak Al-Saad, general secretary assistant in the council of Saudi Chambers, hoped efforts of the Saudi private sector may succeed in canceling or revising this resolution "because it would raise inflation in the country."

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