Saudi Arabia may allow foreign maid recruiters to set up local offices

Shura councillor proposes rule change to help meet demand for domestic workers

(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)

(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)

Plans have been mooted to allow foreign domestic workers recruitment offices to set up in Saudi Arabia, according to local media.

A Shura council member has called for overseas recruitment firms to be able to conduct business in the kingdom in order to meet high demand for housemaids.

Saud Al Subaie was quoted in Saudi Gazette as saying: “We would solve many of our current issues in regards to domestic workers including the great demand for domestic workers, the lack of sufficient supply from our current recruitment offices.

“The recruitment business is not currently meeting the demands of the Saudi market. Recruitment offices are unable to strike deals with foreign governments and are unable to protect the interest of the Saudi client.”

At present, Saudi nationals or businesses typically travel to foreign countries and strike deals with domestic recruiters there.

Under the proposals, the foreign domestic workers’ recruitment offices would be subject to the same rules and regulations as Saudi businesses, rather than being overseen and supervised by their governments.

 Al Subaie said:  “The foreign government should allow the foreign investor to freely interact with the Saudi market and conform to its regulations.

“The current state of the recruitment business does not reflect that. Currently, Saudi investors are the ones that go to foreign countries and negotiate with their governments to strike a recruitment deal.”

He added Saudi investors are then obliged to conform to the rules and regulations of foreign countries in addition to Saudi rules and regulations. “Such bureaucracy is hindering the supply of domestic workers and it prioritising the profit of foreign governments over the benefits of Saudi clients”, Al Subaie said.

The changes would also reduce instances of domestic workers escaping from their sponsors or refusing to work, as they would be liable under their recruitment office’s rules.

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