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340,000 SMEs ‘not employing citizens’

Expatriates manage more than 340,000 small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom, the Labor Ministry announced .
“These SMEs have not employed a single citizen,” the ministry added.
The ministry also said that it decided to impose the SR2,400 expat levy on firms that employ more foreigners than Saudis after the percentage of expatriates rose from 48 to 62 percent of the total population during the past 10 years.
“There are 341,000 SMEs (with nine workers or less) managed by expatriates. They have not employed a single Saudi. This represent 35 percent of SMEs in the country,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Shamsan, director of information center at the ministry.
He said the ministry would continue to impose the expat levy in order to encourage private firms to employ more Saudis and cut the number of foreign workers.
“The money collected through expat levy will be used for the operation of Human Resource Development Fund,” Al-Shamsan said, adding that the levy is imposed on the basis of a Cabinet decision.
“Raising the cost of employing expats is one of a series of measures adopted by the ministry to fight unemployment among Saudis,” the official said, adding that the levy was imposed after holding a series of discussions between the ministry officials and businessmen.

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