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Saudi expat remittances drop 17.6% in November

Saudi expat remittances drop 17.6% in November

New Saudisation rules have seen hundreds of thousands of legal foreign workers leave the country

Remittances by expatriates in Saudi Arabia dropped by 17.6 per cent year-on-year in November, local daily Saudi Gazette reported, citing data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

The amount remitted during the month reached SAR9.9bn ($2.6bn), compared to SAR12.02bn ($3.2bn) in November last year, the report stated.

Remittances by Saudi nationals also fell by 39.5 per cent in November, to reach SAR4.8bn compared to SAR7.9bn during the same period in 2017.

Read: Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank says expat exodus could impact its remittance business

New Saudisation rules in the kingdom – particularly in the retail sector – have seen hundreds of thousands of legal foreign workers leave the country in recent months.

General Authority for Statistics figures showed that the number of employed non-Saudis decreased 290,381 in the second quarter, from 10.18 million to 9.89 million after declining 234,000 the previous quarter.

This meant the total workforce also decreased from 13.333 million to 13.018 million.

Read: Saudi unemployment steady in Q2, foreign labour force down 290,000

The cost of living in the kingdom has also risen due to a new dependents fees, higher fuel and electricity prices and the introduction of a 5 per cent value added tax.

In total, expat remittances for the first half of the year were also almost flat on the same period in 2017, increasing 0.1 per cent from SAR71.02bn ($18.93bn) to SAR71.06bn ($18.95bn).

Read: Saudi retail, wholesale restrictions could impact 1.22 million foreign-held jobs

Meanwhile, the latest report also found that the value of point of sale (retail) transactions in the kingdom rose by 16.5 per cent year-on-year during the first 11 months of this year to reach SAR209.98bn ($56bn).


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