RIYADH: The General Directorate of Passports of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that the issuance of exit/re-entry visas for expatriates and the renewal of residence permits will not be made unless fees levied on dependents of foreign workers are paid in advance.
Government agencies including banks have either updated or are updating their technical platforms for accepting these fees.
Responding to many inquires received on its Twitter account, the Passports Department said that fees levied on the head of the family “should be paid before issuance of exit/re-entry visa or renewal of residence permits.” The new fee for dependents of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia went into force July 1, which was announced by the Ministry of Finance last year in a step to balance in the budget.
In December 2016, the Saudi Council of Ministers passed a series of decisions aimed to increase state revenues to offset the impact of the fall in oil prices. According to the decision, the fees start at SR100 ($27) for each dependent per month and it will increase to SR200 after July 2018, and SR300 and SR400 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Based on government estimates, fees on expatriate’s dependents will yield some SR1 billion by the end the current year, while fees on dependents and levies on foreign workers at private sector companies will achieve SR24bn, SR44bn and SR65bn in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The fees will be paid annually when a residence permit is sent for renewal or the expatriate worker seeks a re-entry visa.
According to the local media, dependents are categorized as follows: A wife (or wives), sons, daughters, parents, wife’s father or mother, house workers, and drivers who are registered under the name of a sponsor, namely expatriates working in commercial companies.
The Saudi government plans to achieve a balanced budget by 2020. In a briefing to reporters last December, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said the fees do not apply to domestic workers employed by Saudi citizens.
He also ruled out imposition of an income tax on Saudis, foreigners or company revenues. The Kingdom has not levied any fees on remittances sent by about 11 million expatriates currently living and working in the Kingdom.