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AFP
September 20, 2019

Millions of expats leave S Arabia

Business

AFP
September 20, 2019

Riyadh: The number of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia fell by over a fifth in the 30 months to end-June due to high state levies and an economic slowdown, a report said Thursday.

Saudi Jadwa Investment said there was a net fall of 132,000 expatriate workers in the kingdom in the second quarter of 2019, taking the net outflow since the start of 2017 to nearly 1.9 million -- a fall of 22 percent. The number of expatriate workers in the public and private sectors dropped from 8.55 million at the end of 2016 to just 6.66 million at the end of June this year.

During the same period, however, the number of domestic helpers who include maids and private drivers rose by 33 percent to 3.11 million, Jadwa said. Economic activity in Saudi Arabia, which pumps around 10 million barrels of oil per day, has been hit hard by crude prices crashing from mid-2014.

Real GDP growth dropped sharply in the following years, and the economy shrank 0.7 percent in 2017, before partially rebounding 2.3 percent last year. Economic growth is forecast to remain subdued over the next five years, despite high spending funded by borrowing and drawing down fiscal reserves.

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