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The rush into Saudi is on: So is the scramble to exit

Saudi is the thing happening.

Global eyes are on the kingdom as it frees its economy from many rigid restrictions and clears the way for serious real estate development by foreign investors.

From the sale of Saudi Aramco to VOX and other movies houses competing for entertainment-thirsty Saudis, the floodgates are open.

But these are revolving doors.

Massive ingress – massive egress.

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Let’s talk ingress

There are 5 main reasons why people are coming to Saudi.

1- Saudi’s multi-trillion evaluation: Aramco’s IPO, which is said to launch in 2019, is reported to be the biggest IPO, and depending on valuation, a 5% sale could bring in  anywhere between $75-$100bn

2- Vision 2030: This is the huge umbrella under which all diversification strategies away from oil fall.  

3-Bankruptcy Laws: Reported to lure many entrepreneurs that were previously apprehensive from starting their own company, out of fear their corporate rights weren’t protected.

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4- Women freedom: Starting June, Saudi women will be on the roads, and this is drawing interest from hail-a-cab companies to car manufacturers.

5- Entertainment hub: From sports, movies, concerts, operas and fashion shows, Saudi is getting on par with its regional counterparts

So who’s leaving?

Some 18 months ago, Saudi introduced a new expats’ dependents’ fee, so anyone who has children living in the kingdom has to pay.

On July 1st last year, Saudi introduced the “dependents fee,” which is set at a monthly rate of $27 for each dependent of a foreign worker but paid in full at visa issuance or renewal. It is increasing by $27 yearly and expected to reach $106.64 per month in 2020.

Recent reports indicated that an average of 1,500 foreign workers have left Saudi Arabia each day over the last 18 months following the introduction of the dependents fee.

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Parents are finding it hard to cope with this and easier to send their children home.

Thousands of students at international community schools in Saudi Arabia have submitted requests for transfer certificates, as they prepare to leave the Kingdom, according to reports.

Saudi Gazette cited the principal of an international school as saying applications for transfer certificates are at “alarming proportions.”

The management of International Indian School in Dammam reported that there were more than 3,000 (75% are leaving schools without completing senior higher secondary education) applications for school leaving certificates this year from the usual 800-1,000.

“They are leaving school due to the dependent’s fees on their parents.”

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The International Indian School in Dammam is reported to have lowered its minimum age for admissions to kindergarten to bring in more students, despite taking on an extra 600 students from an institution that closed earlier this month.

These include a Saudization drive that has seen workers banned from some job roles, fuel and electricity price increasing, a new value-added tax and a crackdown on illegal workers and residents.