Expat fees will continue to increase in 2020 as planned – Saudi finance ministry

Saudi currently levies an expatriate fee on companies and as well as a dependents fee on foreign nationals

The fee charged on expatriates in Saudi Arabia will continue as planned, the kingdom’s finance ministry has said.

Saudi currently levies an expatriate fee on companies and as well as a dependents fee on foreign nationals.

The ministry said the kingdom will continue with initiatives aimed at “developing and diversifying sources of non-oil revenues” such as the expat fees, Saudi Gazette reported.

The fee on dependents was introduced in July 2017, and required expatriates to pay SAR100 per month for each of their dependents at visa renewal. The fee doubled to SAR200 a month in 2018, rising to SAR300 in 2019 and is slated to reach SAR400 in 2020.

Meanwhile in January 2018, the kingdom began charging companies a monthly fee of SAR400 for each foreign worker they hire. Firms that employ an equal or greater number of Saudis than expats paid SAR300.

The monthly fee increased to SAR500-600 per worker in 2019 and is slated to rise to SAR700-800 per worker in 2020. The government is expected to raise $11.73bn from the fee in 2019 and $17.33bn in 2020, according to local media reports.

Last month, it was reported that Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council had urged authorities in the kingdom to carry out a study on the possibility of keeping expatriate fees for the fiscal year of 2020 at the same level as 2019.

The introduction of the fees led to a mass exodus of foreign workers from the country, with several labour-intensive industries such as construction and SMEs hit hard.

Read: Saudi landlords go to court after several expats ‘shut shop’ and leave

In February this year, Saudi King Salman approved a $3.1bn plan to ease the levies and help revive economic growth.

Read: Saudi allocates $3.1bn to help companies with expat fee hikes

The kingdom also announced in September that it will waive the expat fees for industrial companies for a period of five years.

The cabinet announced that the kingdom will temporarily cover the cost of the fees for licensed industrial companies.

Read: Saudi to waive expat fees for industrial companies