Bangladesh fixes minimum Saudi wage

Unskilled workers to receive at least $147 per month under new rules effective from July.
By Lynne Roberts
Sun 09 Mar 2008 03:26 AM

Bangladesh has fixed a new minimum wage for unskilled workers in Saudi Arabia which will take effect from July 1, the government said on Saturday.

Workers who receive food and lodgings as part of their contract will receive 550 Saudi riyals ($147) per month, the government said in a statement reported by local newspaper the Daily Star.

Workers who receive lodgings only will get 750 riyals, while those whose employer does not provide either food or lodgings will receive 950 riyals.

According to the the Ministry of Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment, no employment demand letters or visas will be approved for contracts offering any less than the fixed rate.

According to the Daily Star, Bangladeshi workers receive the lowest wages in Saudi Arabia due to fierce competition between recruiting agencies and the middlemen who by visas from Saudi employers.

Unskilled workers currently earn between 200-300 riyals per month.

Workers will also be required to complete an orientation session before departure, the ministry said.

According to a ministry spokesman increasing numbers of Bangladeshis were awaiting deportation from Riyadh, having destroyed their documentation, as under Saudi law the authorities pay the airfare of deportees.

“It may be mentioned that many Bangladeshis wishing to save the money for their trip back home destroy their valid documents and surrender to Saudi police,” the spokesman said.

Middlemen were known to be encouraging legal workers that they could save money if they returned home through the deportation centres, he said.

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