RIYADH — Saudi banks have started updating their government payments system for the issuance and renewal of residency permits (iqamas), which are linked to work permits, for a minimum period of three months.
According to the recently updated government payments system, payments of iqama fee can be made on a quarterly or half- yearly basis.
This will facilitate completing the procedures of issuance and renewal of iqamas for the required period through the online platforms of Absher Business, Muqeem, and Qiwa under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
According to the recent amendments in the government payment system, banks will accept the payment of fee for the work permit by the employer for a minimum period of three months or its multiples of six months, nine months or a whole year.
However, employers will not be allowed to make payment for the issuance and renewal of iqama of domestic workers and the like on a quarterly basis because their iqamas do not involve work permits.
The issuance and renewal of iqama is linked to work permit. Employers shall make payment of the expatriate fee (financial compensation) for the renewal of work permit and that is amounted to SR800 per month and SR9,600 in a year. Expatriates who have dependents shall have to pay SR400 per month for each dependent.
Small enterprises with nine or less workers including the full-time Saudi employer will be exempted from the payment of expatriate fee for two workers. The number of workers exempted from the payment of fee will be raised to four if the workers include one Saudi citizen in addition to the full time employer.
Ajlan Al-Ajlan, president of the Federation of Saudi Chambers, recently announced the start of implementing the government decision to allow issuance and renewal of iqama with splitting up of payment of fee, with a minimum period of three months.
He said that this decision is a big relief and support for the business sector, especially for small and medium enterprises and startups.
It is noteworthy that the Council of Ministers on Jan. 26 this year approved the issuance and renewal of residency permits (Iqamas) linked to work permits for a minimum period of three months. The move, however, exempted domestic workers and those employed in similar professions.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development had unveiled earlier its plan to allow the payment of expatriate fee for work permit on quarterly basis instead of the existing system of annual payment.
The fees (expatriate fee and dependent fee) for the renewal of work and residency permits can be split up and paid based on the duration of the issued and renewed permits. The expatriate fee and iqama renewal fees are to be paid by the current employer.
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