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Shoura member demands expat fee to be made proportionate to income

DATE: 16-Sep-2021 Reported By: Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — A member of the Shoura Council demanded that the expatriate’s fee should be proportionate to what he receives as income in a month. Attending the council session, he said that the expat fee has become an obstacle for the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Al-Qahtani underlined the need to review the fee for expatriate workers in SMEs in a way reducing SME’s operational costs and ensuring their growth and sustainability.

He noted that SMEs are struggling for survival due to the imposition of heavy burden of financial liabilities, including the expat fee, coupled with administrative challenges.

The Economic and Energy Committee at the Shoura Council had called on the competent authorities earlier to work on developing an effective methodology to calculate the cost of fee for expatriate workers in SMEs.

On her part, Raeda Abunayan, another member, suggested that the government fee recovery initiative should cover all small and micro enterprises for a period of five years until they overcome the effects of coronavirus pandemic.

It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia started charging companies a monthly fee of SR400 for each foreign worker they hire, effective from January 2018. Firms that employ an equal or greater number of Saudis than expatriates need to pay SR300.

The monthly fee increased to SR500-600 per worker in 2019 and to SR700-800 per worker in 2020. The fee needs to be paid at the time of extending the work permit.