Saudi Arabia spends $18.57 billion on ‘visitor’ refugees in 12 years


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Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) affirmed that Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that hosts the largest number of refugees who enjoy the status of visitors. The Kingdom has spent a total of more than $18 billion during the period of past 12 years. These refugees hail from Yemen and Syria as well as Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.

According to a report of the KSRelief, Saudi Arabia provides them with free treatment and education, and is keen on their integration into the Saudi society, through their presence in all regions of the Kingdom, and providing jobs and educational opportunities in public schools.

The KSRelief announced that the percentage of visitor refugees within the Kingdom reached 5.5 percent of the total Saudi population, revealing that the total amount of aid provided to them amounted to $18,577,514,133 during the period from 2011 until the current year 2023.

The center revealed the break-up of the total aid on the basis of the nationality of the beneficiaries: Yemenis $10,444,468,449; Syrians $5,879,144,198; and Rohingya $2,253,901,486. The total amounts of aid spent on the following sectors: Services provided by the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) $7,439,737,181; education $5614,147,528; and health $5,523,629,424.

It is noteworthy that in 2022, KSRelief reported that Saudi Arabia has hosted around 1.07 million refugee visitors in recent years, equivalent to 5.5 percent of the Saudi population.”96 The same figure has been repeated by Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR’s regional representative for the GCC countries.

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