Saudi banks to monitor accounts of expats

Banks will have to inform about deposits incommensurate with salaries and other sources of income of account holders

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All banks in Saudi Arabia will soon start monitoring the accounts of expatriate workers who have deposits disproportionate to their known sources of income.

According to new instructions from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), all banks will have to inform the Ministry of Commerce and Industry about deposits not commensurate with salaries and other sources of income of the account holders.


The SAMA measure comes in line with the Ministry of Labor’s efforts to put a limit on some commercial activities by expatriates, more commonly known as tasattur.

A direct electronic link-up with all government and semi-government authorities through the Ministry of Interior’s national information center provides all the relevant data of an individual to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other concerned authorities.

There will be an advanced level of coordination with the authorities issuing business licenses and manpower visas. Owners of establishments will be asked to present Saudization certificates from the Ministry of Labor before getting their licenses renewed. Also, the ministries of interior and labor will continue to work toward Saudization of commercial activities and occupations that have good financial returns to attract the citizens. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will conduct three studies to put a limit to the control by expatriates of some commercial activities. The first is to study the system for commercial inventories, the commercial register system and suggest the necessary amendments to put a limit to tasattur.

The second study involves ways to take the assistance of private sector in monitoring commercial activities. The third study will be on merging technical services in unified entities in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Ministry of Labor. This will facilitate providing of services by telephone. This will later be implemented in the remaining commercial activities in the retail sector.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

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