Saudi Arabia Visas

Expats in Saudi Arabia concerned about problems with new fee payment system

by Ray Clancy on July 6, 2017

Many foreigners working in Saudi Arabia are confused by new fees introduced at the beginning of July on expats and their dependents.

They are not sure how and when the monthly fees for themselves and their dependents will be paid amid suggestions that banks were not ready to collect the new charge of SR100 per person.

Saudi Arabia

(Zulkiffle Mohd Kassim/Bigstock.com)

Some expats have already reported problems with the online payment system as confirmation that the fees have been paid are needed to renew residence permits and for the issue of exit and entry visas. Those going on holiday are concerned that they will not be able to pay before leaving the country amid worries they could be stopped on their return.

Four Saudi commercial banks are technically ready to deal with the new fees, while the remaining banks will follow suit and upgrade their technical platforms soon, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance.

When the fees start has also been confusing. According to the Directorate of Passports the new fees began at the beginning of the month, but for those who have already renewed their residence permits, they will pay fees for the remaining period of the validity of their permits.

Expats also claim that the amount payable has not been made clear. It is expected to increase every year until 2020, doubling to SR200 (US$54) next year, then rising to SR300 (US$81) in 2019 and SR400 (US$108) in 2020.

The new fees have been introduced as a revenue generating scheme for the Saudi Government, but many also see it as part of a wider campaign to encourage the hiring of Saudi workers by national and foreign companies.

The fees are not being levied on domestic workers, such as drivers and cleaners, but only on those expats who work in commercial businesses.

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