King Salman approved the exemption of the payment of a fee for expatriates working in the Hajj and Umrah sector. This will be for a period of six months. This is among a number of incentives approved by the King out of his keenness to mitigate the financial and economic repercussions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on individuals; private sector establishments; as well as investors in the Hajj and Umrah sector.
The initiatives include the following:
1. Exemption of the annual fee for municipal commercial activity licenses for accommodation facilities. This will also be for a period of one year in the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
2. Also, exemption of the fee for expatriates working in these firms for a period of six months.
3. Renewal of the Ministry of Tourism licenses for a period of one year; free of charge for accommodation facilities in Makkah as well as Madinah, which can be extended.
4. Postponement of the fee collection for the renewal of residency permit (iqama) for expatriates working in this sector. This is also for a period of six months, with a condition that the amounts are to be paid in installments within a year.
5. Extension of the validity of licenses (istimara) of buses operated by establishments to transport pilgrims without charge for a period of one year.
6. Postponement of the collection of customs duties for new buses for the Hajj season of 2021 for a period of three months. Besides, the availability of paying them in installments over a period of four months starting from the due date.
These initiatives come as an extension of the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate the financial and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sectors operating in the field of Hajj as well as Umrah and economic activities most affected by the repercussions of the pandemic.
It is noteworthy that the Saudi government launched more than 150 initiatives, with allocations exceeding SR180bn; aimed to reduce the repercussions of the pandemic and mitigate its effects on individuals, the private sector, and investors.