Saudi Arabia has exempted foreign workers in the industrial sector, one of the main sectors targeted for development, from fees for five years, a cabinet statement said on Tuesday.
The statement said: “The cabinet decided that the state will bear for a period of 5 years the financial fee on expatriate workers for industrial facilities licensed under an industrial license, as of October 1, 2019,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In an effort to create jobs, the government imposed fees on the employment of foreigners to encourage the employment of Saudi nationals. Companies say fees increase operating costs significantly.
In February, King Salman approved a program to compensate some companies that had difficulty paying the increased fees for foreign work permits in 2017 and 2018 and to overlook the fee increases for some unable to pay.
According to the program, only companies with more than or equal Saudi employees are eligible.
The industrial sector is vital in a bid by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the world’s largest oil exporter and create millions of jobs for Saudi youth.