Foreign remittances fall 20% in 4 years

There has been a steady decline in the volume of remittance by foreign workers amounting to a total of SR31.33 billion (20 percent) over the last four years.

The figures came to light as Okaz/Saudi Gazette was monitoring the official data in this regard. The data said remittances would continue to witness a major drop in the current year mainly because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic situation.

The total remittances of non-Saudis during the year 2015 amounted to SR156.86 billion and then it recorded a steady decline for the past four years to reach SR125.53 billion by the end of 2019, with a decline of SR31.33 billion (20 percent) in just four years.

During the last decade starting from 2010, foreign remittance recorded continuous increase for six consecutive years, from SR98.81 billion in the beginning of the decade, and then recorded continuous increase until it reached SR156.86 billion in 2015, an increase of 58.75 percent over the period of six years.

According to the latest figures, remittances reached SR43.64 billion during the first four months of the current year, with a sharp decline in April while compared to the previous month of March, reaching SR 9.79 billion in April from SR12.22 billion in March.

The decline in remittances in April coincided with the imposition of precautionary measures following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. The decline is expected to continue for a couple of months more and will contribute to a further decrease in the remittances for the fifth year in a row.

The fall in the number of foreign workers who left the job market in recent years has contributed to a drop in the volume of remittances. Thousands of workers had left the Kingdom ever since the imposition of expatriate fee effective from 2018.

The monthly fee was SR400 in 2018 and it rose to SR600 in 2019 until reaching SR800 during the current year 2020. This prompted many employers to get rid of their foreign workers and instead they started hiring Saudis to take up jobs that were held earlier by non-Saudis, and that indirectly contributed to the decline in remittances.