World Bank expat remittances report causes negative Saudi expat reaction

Published:  28 Aug at 6 PM
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Immigrant workers across a wide spectrum in Saudi Arabia have reacted in annoyance over the government’s condemnation of amounts remitted by foreigners to their home countries.

The recent World Bank report noted that almost 15 million expat workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states had remitted around $75 billion in total to their families in their home countries. Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for over 60 per cent of the remittances, and the two governments have been commenting negatively about the amount of money leaving the countries.

The report has caused a stir amongst overseas workers in the region, with engineer Aleem Khan stating that expat workers have a right to send money home to support their families. He adds that host countries benefit from expat workers’ shared knowledge and experience as well as making money from their expertise.

Another expat from Pakistan states that the Gulf economies should develop the motivation and skills of their own citizens if they want to reduce the numbers of competent workers from overseas. He adds that remittances are the legally earned wages remaining after expats have paid tax, rent and living costs to the Saudi government, landlords and shopkeepers as well as contributing to the economy via their skills.

A Sudanese expat worker considers the governments’ stance is unethical, inhumane and unIslamic, as foreign workers are invited in for their skills and are now resented for supporting their families in their countries of origin. Others are saying that work and services are not given for free and the money earned is the workers’ to spend as they please.
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