Saudi Arabia issued 12 million visas last year

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Some 12 million foreigners arrived in Saudi Arabia last year for work, visit, business and pilgrimage.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs and Director General of Visa Administration Abdulrahman Al-Yousef said the ministry issued 12 million visas last year.

Of these one-and-a-half million were visit visas and half a million were business visas, Al-Watan Arabic daily reported on Wednesday. Addressing the Saudi Meetings Industry Convention (SMIC), he said a business visa is valid for two years and multiple visits.

According to the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) issued last month, more than 94,000 expat workers left Saudi Arabia in the third quarter of 2017.

The number of expat workers in the private and public sectors was 10.79 million in Q2 compared to 10.6 million in Q3, a decline of approximately 94,390 workers between July and September.

At the same time, a total of 509,180 work visas were issued during Q3 of 2017. The government sector issued 22.3 percent visas and the private sector 39.9 percent. Some 37.8 percent visas were issued to recruit domestic workers, the report noted.

Expatriates are leaving because of the imposition of dependents fees and foreign workers levies.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette.

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