Professional expats facing extradition from Saudi Arabia

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Pryce Warner International Group have over 40 years of experience in providing expat-specific services and financial advice to a global audience. PWI clientele have employed their proven expertise to avoid, adapt or overcome situations similar to extradition from Saudi Arabia.

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It’s important for those considering a move abroad for professional or relocation purposes to seek professional advice, especially where expat laws and legalities are concerned.

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According to a recent article in The Saudi Gazette, as part of the authorities’ ongoing efforts to restrict and reduce annual expat remittance levels, expat employees from around the globe are being extradited out of Saudi Arabia, which currently stand at 129bn Saudi Riyal (which equates to an approximate €25bn). This has been deemed unacceptably high by Saudi officials and now, because few share their viewpoint, an interesting and intense international backlash has unfolded.

When accounting for the fact that there are around 8mn professional expats based in the kingdom, the SR129bn remittance figure actually equates to a comparatively low annual sum of €3162 per capita, which perhaps explain the widespread criticism attracted by the Saudi Government’s measures. The sheer scale of opposition standing against the government’s unpopular solution, which also includes the support of Saudi nationals, further brings the measures into disrepute.

Other key reasons strengthening the counterpoint include the escalating level of regulatory restrictions that currently prevent Saudi expats from increasing their spending habits by moving relatives into the kingdom, as well as the limitations placed on the expat community when it comes to Saudi-based investments. Anti-expat sentiment often permeates Saudi media too, but Saudi nationals openly voice their opinions on a situation that they often describe as ridiculous.

Many Saudi nationals oppose the anti-expat stance in recognition of their progressive economic influence. Expats are encouraged to invest and trade within the UAE but evidently, Saudi Arabia struggles to see beyond the widely publicised Tasattur businesses, illegitimate cover-up operations that expats set-up to earn income tax-free profits. Denying Saudi nationals inland business opportunities that are legal and above board is disrespectful and understandably despised.

David Harra, Senior Market & Investment Analyst of Pryce Warner International Group commented:

“The government should encourage the next generation of investors to create more vacancies by supporting upcoming Saudi operations, where relocating expats could earn an honest and reasonable living. It’s important for those considering a move abroad for professional or relocation purposes to seek professional advice, especially where expat laws and legalities are concerned. This is particularly true of Middle Eastern destinations such as Saudi Arabia, where expat investments are restricted and a complete understanding of your surroundings could prove enough to keep you out of prison for committing Tasattur or similar offences.”

When it comes to starting a new life overseas, expats can never have too much protection and although a wealth of free information regarding an expat lifestyle is readily available on the internet, an in-person discussion with an experienced and proven purveyor of expat-specific advice will bring added peace of mind. In locations such as Saudi Arabia, where financial restructure could be introduced overnight, imminent expats should take all available precautions.

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Anthony Standring
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