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Saudi foreign remittances down 8% to July

Saudi foreign remittances down 8% to July

The decline comes amid expectations of a reduction in the kingdom’s foreign workforce

Foreign remittances by expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia dropped 8 per cent or the equivalent of SAR7.45bn ($1.98bn) during the first seven months of the year, according to reports.

Arabic business publication Al-Eqtisadiah said remittances stood at SAR82.3bn ($21.9bn) at the end of July compared to SAR89.75bn ($23.9bn) during the first seven months of last year.

The decline came despite a 10 per cent increase in remittances in July to reach SAR11.3bn ($3bn), compared to SAR10.3bn ($2.75bn) the previous year.

Saudi’s Geenral Statistics Authority estimated the number of expatriate workers in the country would decline from 12.2 million or 37 per cent of the population to 32.6 per cent by the middle of 2017.

The decrease comes in part due to hundreds of thousands of redundancies last year linked to a slowdown in the construction sector and more recently the introduction of an expatriate dependents fee on July 1.

The introduction of the fee, which will increase from SAR100 a month to SAR200 a month next year, has seen many foreign workers send their families home to save money.

Read: Over 2.2 million expat dependents registered in Saudi as new fee takes effect

In addition, the kingdom is actively barring some jobs to expatriates in order to create more employment opportunities for Saudis.

These include management roles at tourism companies, grocery shop jobs and employment in shopping malls.

Read: Saudi calls on tourism companies to employ citizens before deadline

Foreign remittance by expatriates also declined 3 per cent last year to SAR151.9bn compared to SAR156.9bn in 2015.

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