Saudi Arabia plans to adopt a seven-fold hike in visa fees. Now, people have to pay 2000 Riyals for the single entry visa in the country. Saudi Arabia is trying to balance out the revenue loss that country faced in oil business.
Saudi, the oil-dependent economy, may face negative impact on business ties after the hike, say economy experts. "This practice will end up costing them a lot more than what they gain in visa payments," they said.
"It's incredibly short-sighted. They're obviously bleeding and they want to put the cost on foreigners as much as they can," said a diplomat as reported in TOI.
Higher visa fees are one of many moves adopted by the kingdom to cover a loss in oil revenue which has slumped by 68 percent over the past five years. But the higher cost of entry permits has left people "scratching their heads", another diplomat said.
Starting in October, a six-month business or work-visit visa allowing multiple entries costs 3,000 riyals ($800), compared with 400 riyals before, said Ala Siyam, general manager of Gulf Consulting House.
However a senior Saudi business leader has dismissed such concerns, insisting the country's most sought-after business partners could easily afford the new charges.