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.
In 2017, the government in Riyadh introduced a monthly fee on dependants of expatriates starting at SR100 ($27).
While the expatriate fee on companies, which was designed to increase the number of Saudi nationals in the workplace, currently stands at around SR400 per worker, rising to SR800 ($214) by the end of this year.
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 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 form the country, with several labour-intensive industries such as construction and SMEs hit hard.
Last February, King Salman approved a scheme to reimburse some companies who had struggled to pay steadily increasing fees for expatriate work permits in 2017 and 2018 and waive fee hikes for some unable to pay. Only firms with a higher or equal number of Saudi employees versus expats were eligible under the scheme.
The industrial sector is critical to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's push to diversify the economy of the world's top oil exporter away from crude and create millions of jobs for young Saudis.