By Parag Deulgaonkar
$27 per month per dependent fee likely to be introduced from July
The proposed introduction of monthly expat levy of $27 (SR100) per dependant from July is not driving Indian expatriates to send back their families, a senior Indian Embassy official in Saudi Arabia has confirmed.
His comments come after Indian media reported that several citizens were planning to send their dependants back because of the new fee.
While the Saudi government has not made any official announcement on the implementation date of the levy, the timeframe of July 2017 has been mentioned in the country’s Fiscal Balance Program 2020 report, issued in December last year.
Speaking to Arabian Business, an Indian embassy official, who asked not to be named, said they haven’t witnessed any surge in transfer certificate requests by parents in any of the 10 Indian schools under the embassy’s patronage.
“The best way to gauge movement of families is through our schools. We have nearly 55,000 students in 10 schools and we haven’t seen any large increase in transfer certificate requests,” he said.
The official confirmed that until now no official announcement on the fee has been made.
At present, there are 3 million Indians residing in Saudi Arabia, of which 70 percent are blue-collar workers.
“Though families are concerned with the levy, we don’t see panic among the 55,000 Indian families here,” the official said.
According to the Fiscal Balance Program, expats have to pay $27 (SR100) per month for each dependant from July 2017, which will increase to $54 (SR200) per month from July 2018. The fee will increase to $81 (SR300) per month from July 2019 and reaching a peak of $108 (SR400) per month from July 2020. The fee has to be paid in advance at the time of visa renewal.
The kingdom will also increase the “expat levy” payable by sponsors from the third quarter of 2017, with the fee rising every year to up to $213.30 (SR800) per worker by 2020.
At present, companies pay a levy of $53.33 (SR200) per month per expat in cases where expat employees exceed the number of Saudi employees, the report said.