670,000 foreign workers to leave Saudi Arabia in 3 years

BE2C2 Report — About 670,000 foreign workers are expected to leave Saudi Arabia by 2020, a report prepared by the Kingdom-based Banque Saudi Fransi revealed.

According to the report, 165,000 expats are expected to leave the country every year, the Saudi newspaper Makkah reported on its website.

In addition, it said that the new fees imposed on the companions (dependents) of the workers would add about $20 billion to the Saudi budget over the next three years.

There are approximately 11.7 million foreigners in Saudi Arabia; 7.4 million work and the remaining 4.3 million are companions with the South Asian countries expats having a sizable population.

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According to an estimate, expat Indians total 3.5 million, followed by Pakistanis 2.5 million, Bangladeshis 1.8 million and Sri Lankans 300,000.

Authorities began collecting fees from companions on July 1 at the time of the renewal of their ID cards. Companions now pay 100 riyals a month ($26.66), due to become 400 riyals ($106.66) a month by 2020.

Their remittances are crucial to their economy particularly related to their import bills payments and forex reserves.

The kingdom has launched an economic plan to reduce its dependence on oil and diversify its economy. Vision 2030 has seen the country impose taxes, including value added taxes to goods, increase fees and charges, and setup new industries.

Focus is on new sectors such as renewable energy, tourism, entertainment and arms manufacturing with Public-Private Partnership model as main driver and localization, specialization, transfer of technology and knowledge-base as key attributes of its non-oil economy.

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