Saudi Arabia to Release Findings of Expat Levy Review Next Month

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will release the results of its study of a controversial levy on expatriate workers within 30 days.

Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi gave the timetable in an interview with Rotana Khalijia TV broadcast late Monday but offered no specifics on the study’s findings.

The fees were introduced in 2017 as part of a drive to increase non-oil government revenue -- a key goal of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic transformation plan -- but have drawn fire from business owners in a country accustomed to cheap foreign labor. They’ve contributed to the exit of hundreds of thousands of foreigners from the kingdom, hitting the already-struggling economy without making much of a dent in Saudi unemployment.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the government was reviewing the levy, with a view to reconciling its fiscal needs with the private sector’s ability to hire and grow. The fees are unlikely to be canceled altogether and a ministerial committee is looking at modifying or restructuring them, it cited one person familiar with the situation as saying.

The government denied at the time that the fee was being reviewed.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.