Bad news alert! Saudi Arabia imposes new ‘expat tax’

  • A fee on dependents of foreigner workers will also be levied
  • Saudi government plans to raise fees on expatriates to augment state revenues

JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia will collect a new levy from expatriates and their dependents from this month of July, in a move to augment the kingdom’s revenues.

The monthly levy will be SR100 per dependent in the first year. The amount will be raised gradually every year until 2020. It will double to SR200 after a year, then increase to SR300 in July 2019 and SR400 in 2020.

The Council of Ministers approved the new fees as part of the Fiscal Balance Program adopted in December 2016, the Al-Riyadh newspaper reported on Saturday.

The fee would be linked to the residency permits (muqeem identity cards) and collected in lump sum at the time of renewal every year.

However, no mechanism has been officially announced by the relevant authorities.

The Saudi government is also planning to raise the fees on expatriate workers in the Kingdom next year.

“The government is committed to its goal of achieving a balance between revenues and expenditure by 2020,” Minister of Finance Muhammad Al-Jadaan said recently.

Companies where the number of non-Saudi employees exceeds the Saudis currently pay a monthly fee of SR200 for every foreign employee. Starting next year, the fee will be increased gradually until 2020.

For companies where foreign workers do not exceed the number of Saudi staff, the fee will no longer be waived, but will be imposed at a lower rate.

The fee will be imposed on expatriate workers who are more than the number of Saudi workers in 2018 in all sectors. The fee will be at the rate of SR400 per month per expatriate worker. The monthly amount will double in 2020 to SR800.

If the number of expatriate workers is equal to or less than the number of Saudis, the fee will be SR300 per month. The amount will double next year and it will be raised to SR700 per month in 2020.

There are nearly 10.4 million expats living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.