Saudi: Economists have differing views on expat dependents fees

“There is a surplus of expatriate workers in the country. The new fees will decrease the number of expatriates in the country by 20 percent. A surplus of expatriates has been an economic burden over the past few years. Every expatriate costs the government SR50 a day in electricity, gas, water and other expenses,” claimed Mohammad Al-Qahtani, an economist.

Expatriate dependents fees will help phase out “surplus” foreign workers thus helping the economy, Al-Riyadh Arabic daily quoted some economists as saying on Tuesday.

Financial consultant Ali Al-Jafari said the fees could be a burden on expatriates, many of whom will send their family members home and prefer to stay in the Kingdom alone. This will result in high remittances and less spending in the Kingdom, he said.

Monthly fee for each dependent costs SR100 this year. It will increase by SR100 per month every year reaching SR400 per month per dependent by 2020. This will hopefully generate SR1 billion in revenue by the end of the year and SR65 billion by 2020 based on the current number of expat dependents. But now foreign workers are sending their families home on final exit. So the projected revenue generation cannot be achieved, according to economists.

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