New fees on expats a 'burden' on pvt. sector

The new fees to be imposed on expatriates and their dependents from July 2017 will constitute a financial burden not only on them and their families but also on their employers, a member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned.

Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, member of the chamber’s investment and securities committee, expects the fees to reach SR65 billion by 2020 but said they would have adverse effect on the work environment in the Kingdom.

“The fees will have an adverse effect on the private sector including the contractors, the building material, the food and consumer products and will increase prices. The citizen will be harmed. This will also harm the attractiveness of the work environment in the Kingdom,” the official was quoted by Al-Watan as saying.

Maghlouth called for finding mechanisms to alleviate the harm and said this could be reached through nationalization of jobs.

He also warned that the fees would have a negative impact on the real estate market as many of the expatriates may opt to leave the country with their families.

“A number of offices, shops and flats will be vacated. The landlords and the realtors will suffer in this case,” he said.

Maghlouth called for enabling the expats to invest part of their salaries in special funds and to encourage them to spend part of their incomes inside the country through special mechanisms other than imposing fees on them.

He said the expatriates have accumulated experiences and if they leave the country, the private sector will suffer.

Maghlouthm, however, said there are excessive random foreign labor which the country does not need. “They constitute a burden on the Saudi economy and compete with the citizens in the available openings,” he added.

He said these excessive workers would be willing to pay the fees only to stay in the Kingdom while the country actually does not need them as they work under tasattur.

“We have to decide whom we want and whom we do not want. We also have to provide the private sector with other alternatives without putting extra burden on it,” he said.


Abdullah Al-Maghlouth is a member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry

 

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