JEDDAH — A source at the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh told Saudi Gazette on Tuesday that there has been no breakthrough in the lifting of the ban on recruiting domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia. The source added that although many of its citizens hoped to get jobs in the Kingdom, they still have other markets open to them.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Labor said the ban is in place because of the two countries’ “illogical” and costly recruitment demands. Asked if they had finalized any new agreements with the Saudi side, the source said the Ministry of Labor should be asked about any advancements. Saudi Gazette attempted several times to reach the Ministry of Labor’s spokesperson but he was unavailable for comment.
Al-Watan newspaper stated in a report published on Saturday that Minister of Labor Adel Fakieh will soon sign a new agreement with the two countries that will put an end to the ban.
Hendrar Pramudyo, an official at the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, previously said the Indonesian government “wants a guarantee from the receiving country that the rights of our nationals will be protected appropriately by local law, in accordance with international standards.”
When the two Far East Asian countries refused to send its citizens to the Kingdom until the rights of their workers were guaranteed, the Saudi Ministry of Labor responded by issuing its own ban and criticized the demands of the Indonesian and Philippine governments as excessive and unreasonable.
Saudi families have been following the situation closely as the two countries remain the preferred place for hiring domestic help. Other countries the Kingdom has recently signed recruitment contracts with include Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco.
Many families are waiting until the ban is lifted and have turned to the black market to recruit maids, said Umm Abdulaziz, a woman who helps illegal maids find employment.
“Families are left with two options: Either get a maid through middlemen who take anything between SR50 and SR200 or wait until the ban is lifted. The maid will charge anywhere between SR1500 and SR2500, based on her experience with Saudi culture, child raising, and cooking. Unlike maids who come to the country legally, these maids are familiar with the labor market and ask for good salaries and want weekends off,” said Umm Abdulaziz.