Saudi Arabia planning US-style ‘green card’ system

Deputy crown prince hoping to raise $10bn a year from permanent residency proposal
Saudi Arabia planning US-style ‘green card’ system
Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Wed 06 Apr 2016 10:57 AM

Saudi Arabia is considering setting up a ‘green card’ system, similar to that used in the US, as part of plans to raise $100 billion of revenues annually by 2020.

The green card system and a plan to charge companies a fee for hiring more foreign workers above official quotas could raise $10 billion each a year, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg.

Other than VAT, Prince Mohammed said: “Yes, we have the sin tax, energy drinks and soda drinks tax. We are working on a specific programme similar to the green card.

“Some fees might be on luxury items and as we said earlier, restructuring subsidies. So it’s a large package of programs that aims to restructure some revenue-generating sectors.”

The prince said that $10 billion would come from VAT, $30 billion from subsidy reforms and $40 billion from other unspecified measures.

The green card system in the US allows immigrants to live and work in the country permanently. They are valid for 10 years, after which they can be renewed, and are seen as a path to gain citizenship.

Further details about the Saudi green card policy are unknown, although further details about Saudi Arabia’s revenue-generating proposals may be clarified in the National Transformation Progamme, which Prince Mohammed said would be launched in less than a month’s time.

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