Kingdom could make SR2.6bn in first year from dependents’ fees
:: Saudi Arabia could generate SR2.6 billion ($693.3 million) from fees levied on dependents of expatriates working in the Kingdom, according to a Directorate of Passports official.
Based on data released by the National Information Center, the number of registered dependents reached 2,221,551 as of today.
“If fees on each dependent are paid at SR100, it will yield SR222 million per month, or SR2.665 billion per year,” said Col. Khalid Al-Saikhan, assistant director general of the Directorate of Passports, in a press statement on Tuesday.
Al-Saikhan said: “Four Saudi commercial banks are technically ready to deal with the new fees, while the remaining banks will follow suit and upgrade their technical platforms soon in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).
The application of the new fees began at the beginning of the current month… but for those who have already renewed their residence permits, they will pay fees for the remaining period of the validity of their residence permits in due course.” For final exit, the two-month validity period will be considered in addition to the duration of the residence permit as per regulations, he added, without clarifying further.
The amount is expected to increase every year until 2020, doubling to SR200 next year, then rising to SR300 in 2019 and SR400 in 2020.
“The new fees come as the Kingdom faces pressure to plug its fiscal deficit and boost state revenues amid low oil prices,” said Ibrahim Al-Qayid, founding member of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) Tuesday.
In addition to generating revenue for Saudi government, the expat fee is also seen as being part of a wider campaign to encourage the hiring of Saudi workers. This is the reason that this fee is not being levied on domestic helpers, such as drivers and cleaners, but only on those expatriates who work in commercial entities.