King Salman issues a decree exempting expatriates from fees

RIYADH - The Saudi cabinet yesterday announced that the government will pay for workers coming from industrial facilities from the beginning of next month, which was considered positive by Egyptians working in the sector.

The Saudi Ministry of Finance began collecting a monthly fee for expatriate workers in January 2018, ranging from 300 to 400 riyals per month.

Adel Hanafi, vice president of the General Union of Egyptians Abroad and spokesperson for Saudi workers, told Masrawy that the decision would have a positive impact on Egyptian workers in Saudi factories, whether technical workers or engineers, although we do not have an accurate count of their number, but they will benefit from this decision.

He added that this decision coincides with the opening of the visit to families and reduce the visit fee to 300 riyals instead of 2000 riyals, to contribute to the return of families who have returned to Egypt as a result of the increase in fees.

In July 2017, Saudi Arabia imposed a fee of SR 100 per month on expatriate residents accompanying the private sector, and this year the value will rise to SR 200 per month.

He added that the Saudi government is implementing a plan to expand in the industrial field and invest in this sector within the Kingdom's 2030 development plan, which we hope will increase the demand for Egyptian technical workers in the coming period.

Hamdi Emam, head of the Overseas Employment Enrollment Division, said the decision would have a limited impact, because it addresses a single sector that absorbs a small number of Egyptian workers in the kingdom.

Imam told Masrawy that the number of Egyptians working in the industrial sector in Saudi Arabia does not exceed 5% of the volume of Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia, and these will be positively affected by the decision, but the impact remains limited.

"If the decision included sectors such as the commercial sector, construction or health, we would have found a significant impact given the high volume of Egyptian labor in these sectors."

Imam pointed out that the most concentrated sectors in which Egyptian labor is concentrated is contracting and health.

The Egyptian community is one of the largest communities living in the Kingdom, and according to the population census issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in 2017, Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia number more than 2.9 million Egyptians.