Rights group criticises Saudi expat tax for refugees

Human rights group calls on Riyadh to exempt Syrians and Yemenis from new tax levied on dependents of expatriates.

    The monitoring group said the tax will have a negative impact on the living conditions of Yemeni and Syrian refugees in Saudi Arabia [EPA]
    The monitoring group said the tax will have a negative impact on the living conditions of Yemeni and Syrian refugees in Saudi Arabia [EPA]

    Saudi Arabia has been criticised by a human rights monitoring group for not exempting Syrian and Yemeni refugees living in the kingdom from taxes it has imposed on expatriates.

    Riyadh introduced the taxes on July 1 for dependents of expatriates in the country and they will gradually increase until 2020.

    Expatriates have to pay 100 Saudi Riyal ($26) a month for each dependent on top of the existing fees and expenses. Some companies cover those costs.

    Euro-Med said in a statement released on Wednesday that the decision not to exempt Syrians and Yemenis from the tax will have a negative impact on their living conditions.

    "People displaced by war who have no means of subsistance cannot be equal to others coming to the country for tourism, work or studies and who fall under the expats category," the statement said.

    "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must take into account the humanitarian and living conditions of the newcomers to the kingdom, Syrians and Yemenis in particular, who entered the kingdom in search of safety for them and their children.

    "Their inclusion in such a decision constitutes an important obstacle for them to continue living in the kingdom."

    The fees is expected to be paid annually when visa is renewed.

    According to the United Nations, more than five million Syrians, including at least 2.4 million children, have fled their country since the civil war started five years ago. 

    The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 2.4 million Yemenis have fled their homes to elsewhere in the country, and 120,000 have sought asylum in other countries.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?