After another three months, the employer is liable to pay the levy on behalf of the employees of the small firms to renew the iqama. Earlier, the levy was allowed for three years for the establishments with less than ten employees. Last March, when the deadline was about to expire, the Saudi cabinet extended it for another year.
The levy on foreigners was introduced as part of the policy to strengthen indigenization. The levy was waived to ease the burden on Saudi nationals running small businesses and to keep them in the market.
There is a condition that the owner should be registered with GOSI (General Organization for Social Insurance) for exemption only if the establishment is run by a native. Levy was collected from employees under unregistered owners.
If the owner is a Saudi national registered in Gozi, two foreigners will get the levy. They just need to pay 100 Rials for Labor Card and 650 Rials for Jawasat to renew Iqama. Four expatriates are entitled to the exemption if the establishment employs another Saudi national. But for this too it is mandatory that the Saudi employees must be registered in Gozi.
It is estimated that 65 lakh people are working in small and medium enterprises in the country till the first half of 2023. 99.5 percent of the total enterprises belong to the small and medium category. In the first half of this year, the highest number of firms were registered in Riyadh province. 41 percent of the total registered in the country are in the capital city. Makkah and Dammam provinces are in the second and third positions.
The number of small and medium enterprises in the country has increased due to the assistance received from the government. A growth of 37 percent has been recorded in one year. From 75,300 firms in the first quarter of 2022, it has increased to 11,90,000 in the first quarter of 2023.