Saudi gov't moves to reassure expats their accounts will not be seized

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Saudi gov't moves to reassure expats their accounts will not be seized

The authorities in Saudi Arabia moved today to reassure expats living in the kingdom that their personal bank accounts will not be frozen if their transactions reveal a balance greater than their monthly wage.

The government was responding to reports that have circulated widely on social media that moves were afoot to freeze the bank accounts of any expats whose monthly incomings exceeded their official income. 

However the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) tweeted this morning: "There is no truth in reports circulating in some media and social networking sites that banks operating in the kingdom are directed to freeze accounts of expatriate workers whose transactions exceed the prevalent wages of their jobs."

Banks constantly apply the necessary measures to different clients' banking accounts and take the necessary steps in line with relevant regulations and instructions."

"Banks constantly apply the necessary measures to different clients' banking accounts and take the necessary steps in line with relevant regulations and instructions," SAMA added.

Despite recent departures, Saudi Arabia is home to around 10.5 million foreign workers. 

As with many countries, Saudi Arabia is drawing up measures to counter the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Notably a new VAT rate of 15% (from 5% currently) is due to be applied on 1 July, a tax that before 2017 was non-existant in the kingdom. 

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.