Saudi Arabia tops Gulf states among remittance sending countries

Abu Dhabi: Three Gulf countries rank in the top 10 category among remittance-sending countries, with Saudi Arabia ranking second to the US with regard to remittances sent abroad – at $37 billion.

Statistically, Saudi Arabia stands out as the largest source of remittances in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), at around 5 per cent, according to the “Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016”.

The report is brought out by Knomad (or the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development), a trust fund created by the World Bank with contributions from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland as well as Migration and Asylum Policy, the Gulf news reported.

Remittances from the UAE and Kuwait stood at $19 billion and $18 billion, respectively. The figures date back to 2014, hence do not absorb the possible effects of the plunge in oil prices on outgoing remittances.

The other Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) are noted for being top recipients of immigrant workers, with their share of the population being around 91,88,72 and 54 per cent in Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain, respectively.

In fact, Qatar and the UAE are the first and second largest recipients of immigrants globally, something extraordinary by all means. The stats add to the phenomenon of GCC economies being open for business at large including employment.

Recent comments made by top officials dealing with key economic policies in Saudi Arabia provide comfort with regards to remittances. More specifically, there is no plan for applying tax on outgoing remittances. This is vital, as the kingdom seeks fresh ways to bolster revenue sources for the treasury.

Statistics released by the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development put the number of foreign workers in the private sector at a robust 8.7 million. In addition, some 72,000 expatriates work for different public sector entities. Around 720,000 work as household workers.

Altogether, some 9.4 million expatriates work and live in the kingdom after including domestic workers. The GCC is also noted for being receptive towards foreign workers.
This is even true in countries in Gulf economies where there is unemployment among locals like in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, according to Gulf News.