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Thousands of foreign students apply to leave Saudi

Thousands of foreign students apply to leave Saudi

Parents are opting to send their children home due to a dependents fee introduced last year

Thousands of students at international community schools in Saudi Arabia have submitted requests for transfer certificates as they prepare to leave the kingdom, according to reports.

Saudi Gazette cited the principal of an international school as saying applications for transfer certificates are at “alarming proportions”.

The management of International Indian School in Dammam has reported more than 3,000 applications for school leaving certificates this year from the usual 800-1,000.

Of these more than 2,000 are leaving schools without completing senior higher secondary education, a member of the school’s management committee said.

“They are leaving the school due to the extra burden of dependent’s fees on their parents.”

Large requests have also been received from Indian schools in Jeddah, Riyadh and Jubail and other Pakistani and Philippines schools, leading some institutions to re-open admissions because of vacant seats, according to the publication.

The International Indian School in Dammam is reported to have lowered its minimum age for admissions to kindergarten to bring in more students despite taking on an extra 600 from an institution that closed earlier this month.

The kingdom introduced the dependents fee on July 1 last year. The fee is set at a monthly rate of SAR100 ($27) for each dependent of a foreign worker but paid in full at visa issuance or renewal.

Read: Saudi’s expat dependent fee: Everything you need to know

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

Recent reports indicated an average of 1,500 foreign workers have left Saudi Arabia each day over the last 18 months following the introduction of the dependents fee, a SAR300 or SAR400 ($80-107) monthly foreign worker levy on companies introduced in January and other reforms.

These include a Saudisation drive that has seen workers banned from some job roles, fuel and electricity price increases, a new value added tax and a crackdown on illegal workers and residents.

Read: Average of 1,500 foreign workers leaving Saudi a day as reforms bite

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