THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Already hit by nationalisation of jobs and layoffs due to dwindling oil prices, the nearly five lakh strong Malayali community in Saudi Arabia now has another point of worry.
The reason: The new ‘dependant tax’ or ‘family tax’ that will come to effect from July 1, 2017. Expats staying with their family will now have to pay 100 riyals per month for each family member.
It means a person with two children will have to shell out 300 riyals per month (3,600 riyals annually) when the family visa is renewed. Not just that. The tax will increase by 100 riyals per month per person every year till 2020.
Many have already packed off their families and others are getting ready to follow the suit. There is no exodus yet as the burden will hit them only at the time of visa renewal. But the trickle could become a flood any day.
“I have three children, which means I have to pay 4800 riyals this year and will end up paying 19,200 riyals by 2020. They have decided to increase the tax by 100 riyals per month every year. This is in addition to the expat levy I have to pay and expenses for rent, school fees and food. How will we survive?” asked Latheef Thechi who works in Riyadh and is a social worker.
The tax has to be paid in advance. A person who wants to take his wife to Saudi Arabia will have to pay 1,200 riyals before the visa is stamped. Those who have their family members staying in Saudi will have to make the payment while their visa is renewed.