Indians employed in Saudi Arabia are planning to send their families back to their home as the Kingdom is all set to introduce a monthly ‘dependent fee’ for expats, starting from July.
The fee of 100 riyals, which is approximately Rs 1,700 per month for each dependent is likely to prove a big financial burden for the Indian expats.
At about 4 million, Indians are the largest expat group in Saudi Arabia.
A computer professional who lives in Dammam, Mohd Taher said: "Some families I know have made plans to return to Hyderabad as they feel they cannot afford to stay there any longer."
Bheem Reddy Mandha, who is a migrant rights activist said that people had already started sending their families back from March itself.
A person is allowed to bring their family to Saudi if he/she earns 5,000 riyals, approximately Rs. 86,000 per month. So, an expat living in the country in a family of four have to pay 300 riyals, approximately Rs 5,100 a month.
The problem does not end here, this tax rule will go up by 100 riyals per dependent every year till 2020, which means that a family would shell out 400 riyals, about Rs 6,900 for each dependent every month. This fee has to be paid in advance.
If a man’s dependent wife is to stay in the kingdom for a year, the man has to pay 1,200 riyals in advance at the time of the renewal of the ‘iqama’- residence permit.
So, for a family of four, the employee have to pay an advance tax of 3,600 riyals about Rs 62,000 per year.
There are some companies that are planning to compensate their employees for the ‘dependent fee’, while most of the people have no option, but pay it themselves.
When asked what effect the dependent fee would have on Indian expats in Saudi, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, nothing could be said as yet, “but it will affect all expats.”