Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has called on relevant 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, local media reported.
The study will look into the expatriate fee charged on companies and as well as the dependents fee that foreign nationals pay, 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.
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.
In February this year, Saudi King Salman approved a $3.1bn plan to ease the levies and help revive economic growth.
Also, late last month, the kingdom announced 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.
However, there has been no change in the plan so far in terms of the expat dependant fee.