Half the Saudi population receiving welfare in new system, says labor minister

A Saudi money changer displays Saudi Riyal banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 29, 2016. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 December 2017
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Half the Saudi population receiving welfare in new system, says labor minister

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia paid SR2 billion ($533 million) on Thursday in the first monthly installment of a new welfare system for low and middle-income families that make up approximately half of the Kingdom’s population.
The payments come ahead of the introduction of a 5 percent value-added tax on most goods, like food and services, as well as subsidy cuts that will raise the price of electricity and gasoline next year.
Minister of Labor and Social Development Ali Al-Ghafees told Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that bank transfers were made to approximately 3 million families, reaching around 10.6 million beneficiaries. He said half of those families received the maximum payment of SR938 ($250). The minimum payment is SR300 ($80).
The payouts come two days after the government announced plans for the biggest budget in the Kingdom’s history, with plans to spend at least SR978 billion ($261 billion) this coming fiscal year. The government already introduced a tax on tobacco products, soft drinks and energy drinks this year, as well as a tax on luxury goods.
The government said it expects to pay approximately SR32 billion ($8.5 billion) on the Citizens Account payments in 2018.


More than 1.25 million foreigners arrested in KSA for flouting residential, labor laws

In this file photo, expatriate workers are seen outside a Labor Ministry office in Riyadh to fix their status in the Kingdom. In the past seven months, Saudi authorities have arrested more than 1.25 foreigners for violating residential and labor laws. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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More than 1.25 million foreigners arrested in KSA for flouting residential, labor laws

  • Of the total arrested, 931,069 were violators of residential regulations,  218,897 for flouting labor laws and 102,000 tried to gain entry into the Kingdom illegally.
  • The crackdown started on November 16 last year and ended on June 14.

JEDDAH: More than 1.25 million people were arrested in Saudi Arabia for violating residential, labor and border security regulations during the Kingdom’s months-long campaign.

The crackdown, which started on November 16 last year and ended on June 14, saw the arrests of 1,251,966 people in the joint security field campaign across the Kingdom. Those arrested included 931,069 violators of residential regulations, 218,897 for flouting labor laws and 102,000 violators of border security regulations.

The total number of people arrested attempting to cross the Kingdom’s borders stood at 19,233 people. Of those arrested, 54 percent were Yemenis, 43 percent Ethiopian, and 3 percent from other nations. 

The Kingdom also arrested 790 people who tried to leave the Kingdom illegally.

There were 2,167 people who were arrested for harboring and transporting violators of labor and security border regulations, and 415 citizens were arrested for transporting and sheltering expatriates violating regulations. Regulatory measures were taken against 388 citizens who were subsequently released. 

The number of expatriates currently detained stands at 10,245, including 8,817 men and 1,428 women. Immediate penalties were imposed on 221,404 violators while 177,329 violators were referred to their respective diplomatic missions for travel documents and 327,034 were deported.