Saudi Arabia has agreed to lift its ban on Filipino maids after agreeing to a $400 monthly minimum wage, it has been reported.
Philippine vice president Jejomar Binay, who oversees the welfare of Filipino overseas workers, said in a statement that the Gulf kingdom will lift the ban which was imposed in June 2011.
“More than the lifting of the ban, I find the decision of the Saudi government to increase the mandated salary for our household service workers further proof of a shared commitment to protect [their] welfare,” he said in comments published by AFP.
The issue of a minimum wage for maids was one of the key issues that led to the ban being imposed last year.
Manila insisted the minimum wage for its maids was necessary to protect them from exploitation but Saudi Arabia resisted the demand and suspended the processing of employment contracts.
The Philippines government estimates there are more than 1.2m Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia, of which about 15 percent or 180,000 are maids or drivers
Earlier this year, it was reported that Saudi Arabia planned to import 45,000 Ethiopian nationals into the kingdom every month in order to meet its requirement for domestic workers.
Last month, Nepal banned women under the age of 30 from working as housemaids in the GCC, two years after the country lifted a ban on nationals taking up employment in domestic services in the Gulf states.
Thousands of young Nepalese women leave the impoverished country every year to take up domestic and construction jobs in Gulf states.
Officials in the Himalayan country lifted a 12-year ban on women being employed in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar in 2010, introduced after a domestic worker subjected to abuse in Kuwait committed suicide.