Saudi government to raise $6.3bn from 2018 expat levy

Private sector companies will have to pay at least SAR300 a month for each foreign worker in 2018



The Saudi government is reportedly planning to collect SAR24bn ($6.3bn) from fees applied to foreign workers in 2018 as it prepares to implement a new levy.

Arabic publication Okaz reported the figure, which will come from new monthly fees of SAR300 ($80) to SAR400 ($107) per worker at private sector companies depending on the percentage of Saudis in their workforce.

In 2019, the government then aims to raise SAR44bn ($11.73bn) as the fees increase to SAR500 ($133) and SAR600 ($160) and a target of SAR65bn ($17.33bn) has been set for 2020 when the fees increase to SAR700 ($187) and SAR800 ($213) per month, according to the publication.

The kingdom should also raise SAR1bn ($266.6m) this year from a new fee of SAR100 ($27) per month per dependent introduced for foreign workers in July.

Read: Saudi labour ministry denies reports of increase to dependents fee

This will also double to SAR200 ($53.32) a month from July next year and then increase to SAR300 ($79.98) in 2019 and SAR400 ($106.64) in 2020.

Saudi Gazette reports that about 62,000 foreign workers have left the country since the dependents fee was introduced, with the expat workforce decreasing form 10.85 million to 10.788 million.

Separately the kingdom is also closing off sectors to foreign workers in a bid to provide 1.2 million jobs to citizens and reduce the Saudi unemployment rate to 9 per cent by 2020.

Gold and jewellery shops were the most recent sector affected, after being hit by a ban on foreign recruitment this month. Other recent bans mean only Saudi women can now work in shops selling female-specific items.

Read: Saudi bans employment of foreigners in gold and jewellery shops