Reports of frozen expat bank accounts in Saudi are fake news

Published:  9 Jul at 6 PM
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Saudi Arabia is now reassuring expats their bank accounts are safe from being frozen.

Expat professionals began to panic after social media reports suggested the Kingdom is planning to freeze all foreign-owned personal bank accounts which show monthly incomes larger than account holders’ official salary payments. According to the Saudi Monetary Authority, the reports are fake news and expat professionals should ignore them as no such plan is in the governmental pipeline.

The government spokesperson also stated that Saudi banks constantly apply certain measures deemed necessary to all clients’ accounts, according to and in line with current instructions and regulations. Given that the above statement is ambiguous at best, expats in the Kingdom could be forgiven for watching their banking backs at this difficult time, especially as VAT was raised to 15 per cent at the beginning of the month.

Meanwhile, those non-Saudis who’re trapped outside their country of residence due to the pandemic will not yet be allowed to return to their homes and families as repatriation is at present limited to legal residents. It seems this has become the unpleasant norm for expats across the world who’re caught up in border closures and flight cancellations, simply for being in the wrong country at the wrong time.

However, expats stranded outside the Kingdom are now being advised to register online with the Awdah initiative, recently launched for foreigners with either exit and return visas, various other visit visas or tourist visas. Applicants don’t need an Absher electronic platform in order to register, as an exception is being made in order to allow foreign residents to return as soon as is practicable.
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