Saudi chamber urges ministry to scrap expat levy

The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) has released a report urging the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) to cancel expat levy for companies employing equal numbers of Saudi and expat workers.

The report argues that expat levy should not be collected for the remaining work permit period after an expat has been sent on an exit visa.

The report also states that companies should not be held accountable for the non-payment of dependents’ fee by expat workers.

As of January this year, the government started collecting $106 per month per expat worker for companies where expats outnumber Saudis and $80 per month per expat worker for companies where expats and Saudis are in equal number.

The levy is due to increase to $160 in 2019 and $212 in 2020 for companies where foreign workers outnumber Saudi nationals.

Yet for companies where expats and Saudis are in equal number, the levy will increase to $186 in 2019 and $186 in 2020.

Tough times
The development comes at a tough time for expats in the region. Figures released last week show a total of 562,691 expat workers have been arrested in Saudi Arabia since November for violating the labor, residency and border security regulations.

Those arrested included 382,921 who lacked valid residency permits, 127,566 without valid work papers, and 52,204 people who had violated the border security system. Saudi Arabia, along with other GCC states, has already banned foreigners from working in certain, mostly lower-income, sectors of its economy.

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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