Saudi ArabiaWork Permit

Saudi Authorities Consider Increase in Work Permit Fees

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development is considering increasing expats’ work permit fees, a move that could benefit Saudi citizens competing for jobs with foreigners.

Discussing different labor issues, Ahmed Al-Humaidan, deputy minister, said the proposal to grant the two-day weekend to Saudi employees only, in both the public and private sectors, would be an embarrassment for the ministry at international forums, especially since the Kingdom is a signatory to international agreements that forbid discrimination of any sort.

He said the ministry is currently working on reaching the decision to close shops at 9 p.m. sharp.

The decision to increase the work permit fees has been on the table for a while; it is an issue determined by the labor market, by the number of foreign laborers, and the extent to which such a decision will affect the market. The new fees have yet to be determined.

“We keep options open in our endeavor to address the labor market problems,” the official said, adding: “Our problems are different from those elsewhere in the world. We have both unemployment and recruitment, and thus everything is open to negotiation pending development.”

Al-Humaidan confirmed that the idea of the two-day weekend, which aims to reduce the gap between employees in the public and private sectors, is still in the legislative framework, as the decision-makers must consider many studies and ensure that it benefits all stakeholders.

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