234,000 Saudi expats jobs lost in Q1, as expat levy bites

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Official statistics from the Saudi Arabian government have highlighted that 234,000 expat workers lost their jobs in the private and public sectors during the first quarter of 2018.

Released at the weekend, the survey – based on the data of the General Authority of Statistics (GaStat) – showed that the number of non-Saudi employees fell from 10.42 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 to 10.18m at the end of the first quarter of 2018.

The survey said the number of the Saudi job-seekers decreased by about 1.33% as 4,400 of them have found jobs which means 160 Saudis are employed every day, 1,120 every week and 4,800 every month. However the official rates of Saudi employees decreased to 3.15m by the end of the first quarter of this year, compared to 3.16m in the fourth quarter of last year.

Expat exodus

Saudi Arabia and the other gulf countries depend heavily on foreign workforce but a move by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pictured left,  to introduce a series of measures designed to remove expats from jobs and deploy out of work locals, has begun to see an exodus of expats from the kingdom.

As reported, from last year, the Saudi government introduced new expat levy, under which the dependents have to pay a large amount to the Saudi government every month.

From July, each dependent of expats now pay SR 200 per month and working man has to pay SR 300-400 per month. That means, annually each working man has to pay 88,000 and 44,000 for each dependent.

A working expats’ levy also has to be paid by the company which employs more expats than locals. If the company employs expats less or equal to the number of locals, they have to pay SR 300 per month for each expat employee. If the number of expats the company employed exceeds the number of locals, they have to pay SR 400 for each expat. Therefore, many companies are making moves designed so that expats quit their jobs.

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