Kuwaiti government drops plan to tax expat remittances

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, Money, Jobs
The proposed remittance tax to be applied to expats sending money abroad has now been rescinded.

Much to the relief of Kuwait’s huge expat community, the government has announced it’s dropping the controversial remittance tax scheme believed to be yet another example of Kuwaitization at the expense of the vast majority of expat workers. Sources say the proposed tax would have been harmful to the emirate’s economy by forcing an exodus of much-needed manpower and working as a deterrent for foreign investment. The government is now expected to focus on its proposed VAT bill, with the new parliamentary term kicking off in October.

A collective sign of relief was heard from the vast majority of expats living and working in Kuwait, almost all of whom have been affected by the push for Kuwaitization. Some 70 per cent of the emirate’s total population are expatriates, ranging from low-paid manual workers to top-level expat professionals. The sigh would have been even louder had the government agreed to cancel the recent price increases in the retail water, electricity and fuel sectors, but enough lawmakers rejected the demands to ensure prices will rise as intended.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, expatriate engineering graduate dependents of expat workers are now banned from taking jobs in their field. The new rule is an add-on to the recent ruling that recruitment of expat engineers with less than five years’ work experience is forbidden. In addition, foreigners applying for positions in the engineering sector will need to sit a professional examination as well as attending an interview with representatives of the Saudi Council of Engineers. At the present time, some 84 per cent of members of the council are expatriates, with only 16 per cent recorded as Saudi nationals.
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