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SAUDI ARABIA – Companies with High Saudization Rates Eligible for Reimbursement or Waiver of Expat Fees

, 15/02/2019

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) has announced that companies with a sufficiently high Saudization (Nitaqat) rating will have expat fees reimbursed or exempted for 2018.

Employers which have maintained a Nitaqat rating of green or platinum for the last 12 months will qualify for a refund if they have already paid the expat fee for the year, or a waiver if they have not yet paid.

Employers in the red and yellow Nitaqat categories can qualify for reimbursement if they recruit a higher proportion of Saudis and improve their rating.

What is Nitaqat?

The Saudization system (Nitaqat) is complex, with companies grouped by industry sector and company size, then ranked into six categories (Premium, High Green, Medium Green, Low Green, Yellow, and Red) of Saudization – according to the percentage of local workers in the company’s workforce.

What is the Expat Fee?

An expat fee or levy on each foreign national worker and their family members was introduced in 2017, and expanded on 1 January 2018.

Action Items

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to consult their immigration specialist for case-specific advice.