Expats' remittances decline 8% in seven months

August 28, 2017

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH – Foreign remittances of expatriate workers in the Kingdom declined eight percent or SR7.45 billion during the last seven months to reach SR82.3 billion by the end of July 2017 against SR89.75 billion during the same period last year, press reports said.

An analytical economic report published by Al-Eqtisadiah business daily on Sunday said expats’ remittances rose in July by 10 percent or SR985 million on an annual basis to reach SR11.3 billion compared to July 2016 when the amount was SR10.3 billion.

“Foreign remittances in the same month increased on a monthly basis by eight percent or SR857 million compared to remittances of June 2017 when the amount was SR10.4 billion,” the report said.

According to the same report, average remittances of an individual expatriate reached SR925 in July 2017 against SR855 in June 2017 and SR844 in July 2016.

Estimates of the General Statistics Authority indicate that the number of expatriate workers in the Kingdom would decline from 12.2 million or 37 percent of the country’s population, to 32.6 percent by the middle of 2017, with the number of Saudi population reaching 20.4 million or 67 percent of the total population.

It’s worth mentioning that the total foreign remittances of expats amounted to SR151.9 billion in 2016 against SR156.9 billion in the previous year, registering three percent fall or SR5 billion.

Foreign remittances of Saudis decreased 33 percent from SR89.2 billion in 2015 to SR59.6 billion in 2016, the report explained. The government has been implementing its Saudization program to reduce the number of foreign workers and cut down their remittances.

Authorities have taken umpteen measures to reduce dependence on expatriate workers in several fields.

From time to time, they have included new domains under the Nitaqat nationalization scheme. These include disability centers, strategic partnership institutes, health colleges, female services, children’s hospitality centers, female cosmetic centers, female sewing centers, the construction sector involved in projects at the Two Holy Mosques, gas stations and the pilgrims’ transportation sector.

Several newly included categories, such as photography shops and women’s sports centers, are highly dependent on a female workforce.

In addition, levying of the expat fee which became effective in July this year, has forced many foreigners to pack up and go back to their countries. The government hopes that the resultant vacancies in the job market will be filled by young Saudis of both genders.

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