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Friday, October 07, 2016

CHANGES IN SAUDI & WHAT OFWs SHOULD PREPARE FOR

5 new regulations that changed life in Saudi starting October


NEW VISA FEES

The implementation of the new visa fees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has already started this October.

Single entry visa is 2,000 Saudi Riyals, but it is free for visitors entering Saudi for the first time to perform pilgrimage or Umra.

Expatriates living in the Kingdom have to pay 200 Saudi Riyals for a single trip out of the country and it is valid for two months.

Additional 100 Saudi Riyals for every additional month, within the duration of the residence permit of expat.

Six-month multiple-entry visa will now cost 3,000 Saudi Riyals.

One year multiple-entry visa will cost 5,000 Saudi Riyals.

Two-year multiple-entry visa will cost 8000 Saudi Riyals.

Transit visa is 300 Saudi Riyals.

Exit visa fees for anyone leaving the Kingdom through its seaports is 50 Saudi Riyals.

“Exit and re-entry” visa fees for residents is 200 Saudi Riyals for a single trip for two months. SR100 will be charged for each additional month till the validity of residence permit (iqama).

Exit and re-entry visa fee for multiple trips will be SR500 for three months. SR200 will be charged for each additional month till the validity of residence permit.

NEW TRAFFIC LAWS, FINES

Under amended Article 69 of Traffic Law, stunt driving is now a traffic offense.

Penalty:

First offense - Seizure of vehicle for 15 days and SR20,000 fine

Second offense - Seizure of vehicle for 30 days and SR40,000 fine

In both cases, the violator will be referred to the court to consider jail terms.

Third offense - Vehicle will be seized and SR60,000 fine - the violator will be referred to the court.

The seizure or confiscation of the vehicle will not be applicable to rented or stolen vehicles.

Under amended Article 70, anyone who takes and uses the driving license or vehicle registration card (istimara) of another person, or uses it for a mortgage will face a fine of not less than SR1,000, but no more than SR2,000.


INCENTIVES AND BONUS CUT

-Ministers' salaries are reduced by 20%.

-Housing and car allowances for members of the advisory Shura Council are cut by 15%.

-Wage increases for lower-ranking civil servants are suspended.

-Overtime payments were curbed at between 25 and 50 percent of basic salaries

-Annual leave should not exceed 30 days

The only exempted for this budget cut are the troops involved in combat along the southern border and abroad as part of an 18-month military intervention led by Saudi Arabia in neighboring Yemen. About two-thirds of working Saudis are employed in the public sector.


ALLOWANCES

There are other decisions to take places such as removal, modification, and ending of some allowances, bonuses, and other financial advantages.



GREGORIAN CALENDAR

Public sector salaries are now based on a Gregorian calendar from lunar-based Hijri calendar, which means, employees will lose 11 days of payment.

This will bring public sector in line with the private sector employees are paid.


OFWs in Saudi Arabia Should Prepare For:

1. PROPOSED TAXES ON REMITTANCES

Almost all expatriates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia worried about the news regarding the proposed 6 percent tax on their remittances.


Expat from different nationalities including Filipinos said it will be unfair for them if the government will impose a tax on their hard-earned money.

Workers also requested the government to reject the proposal.

Thousands of Expat workers from Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Sudan, Egypt are opposing the said proposal.

Accordingly, a salary hike has also been cited as a reason for the proposed tax, but there is an only small number of expat whose salaries have been raised since 2015.

In the article of Arab News, Shoura Council’s Finance Committee is backing a proposed tax on remittances of expatriates, starting from 6 percent in the first year and gradually reducing to 2 percent permanently from the fifth year onward.


2. SAUDIZATION

It means more job opportunities to Saudis in different work fields.



To increase the Saudization in labor market, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development come up with six vital projects.

It includes:

1. Develop recruitment mechanism - this helps different sectors to depend entirely on the local market

2. Applying professional tests to support technological and technical specialties

3. Reducing the cost difference between employing Saudis and foreigners

4. Resorting to the guided Saudization of jobs

5. Developing employment mechanisms and channels

6. Implementing a balanced Nitaqat.

The most important objective of these projects is to reduce the difference in cost when it comes to hiring Saudis, as opposed to foreign labor.

3. RETRENCHMENT


This year only, tens of thousands of expat workers including Filipino Workers are affected by the massive layoff. The reason cited are labor law changes, completion of some major project, restrictions on some companies operation and many projects have been placed on hold for various reasons.

Those who have been laid off include engineers, foremen, steel fixers, carpenters, welders, construction workers, etc.

There are also reports that many workers are left jobless, unpaid for their salaries and stranded in the Kingdom.






WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

According to reports, this is a part of the series of economic reforms Saudi Arabia wants to implement since the Kingdom is under pressure from tumbling oil prices.

Seventy-two percent of Saudi revenues come from oil and only last year, the country posted a $98bn budget deficit.


©2016 THOUGHTSKOTO