Saudi Arabia to rehire Indian maids on lower wages

Labour ministries in both countries agree to lift freeze on overseas recruitment

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Overseas recruitment firms in Saudi Arabia will resume hiring female domestic staff from India, it was reported, albeit on lower pay than before following a new deal between the two countries.

Al-Hayat newspaper said that the labour ministries in Saudi Arabia and India signed an agreement to resume the hiring of Indian maids, following a freeze due to new conditions imposed by authorities in the subcontinent.

The report did not specify how long the ban had been in place, or what minimum pay for domestic workers had been set at, but said that many Gulf families had complained over the cost of hiring maids.

Treatment of maids has been controversial across the region, with regular news reports of abuse and exploitation as well as maids being accused of attacking and even killing their employer or a child left in their care.

This year, an Indonesian woman in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering a four-year old girl in her care in September.

In October, Saudi Arabia beheaded a young Sri Lankan housemaid after rejecting appeals by her home country against her death sentence for the killing of an infant left in her care in 2005. The case drew considerable controversy as Rizana Nafeek was apparently 17 years old at the time of the infant’s death.

Numerous Asian countries also have fallen out with the kingdom over migrant workers’ rights.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Paolo C

India, a great country who doesn't care less of its own people. Its gouvernment needs to be overtrown immediately.

Posted by: DNS

Same can be said of Italy and Greece... and probably other asian countries too... you get the picture.

Posted by: Saudi

Don't whine about low pay AFTER you ACCEPT whatever pay you negotiated.

Posted by: DNS

@ Saudi: Good on you for starting to employ more Saudis.. sooner is always better than later.. and oh, whilst you are busy deporting illegals, make sure you also crack down on idiots who flout the systems and con these migrant workers.

Posted by: Saudi

It seems that even an idiot could figure out that when you have an oversupply of a commodity (unskilled Indian labor), the price (wages) of that commodity falls. When it falls far enough, unskilled Saudis can't afford to take the unskilled jobs, and then we let a few million more uneducated, unskilled, Indians in, and the cycle continues. I'm glad Saudi attitudes are changing, as displayed by massive hiring of Saudis and shunning hiring Indians.

Posted by: Khan

It is all india;s fault... they seem to find money for expensive fighter jets which their lame airforce seems to crash any way but no money for their people..

stop blaming Saudi and start it with your selves.

Posted by: Fahd

That is not Saudi Arabia's problem. If a country is so ineffective it cannot ensure its citizens passports dont get "lost" and does not help them, then their citizens deserve all this and more.

Posted by: SVA

Its a shameful decision on behalf of Indian Govt to enter into such agreement. Owing to recent expat issues drive in Saudi Arabia, they there are reported cases of runways house maids from sponsors. One of the major reason of runaway house maid is low pay and abusive treatment. One can not change the way they behave. So this reason is status quo would have another reason as lower salary. Why can't this issue be taken up head to head while discussing with authorities. There need to be corrective ways to prevent run away workers situation happens. There are people who promote illigal things, but those who fall victim or support such cause are more dangerous and responsible to nurish such situation. Hidden message smart readers can understand very well. Why it shold always need mirror to see own picture. There is trouble within the house, why to blame others for isseus of expats!!!!

Posted by: shaque

Here in GCC countries the low wages of South Asian labour is like a illegal drug trade. We should punish both the drug user as well as the supplier. South asian countries and their Governments are not protecting their labour force from the opportunistic middlemen in GCC countries.

Posted by: Steve

Ok - sorry to be blunt but there are two main problems which mean that south asians are exploited in the GCC.

1 - Many Arabs still see lowly paid migrant workers as slaves. The slave trade was alive and well over here until not that long ago and you can clearly see that many here view cheap labour as exactly that. I've lived here for 5 years and due to my job I have allot of exposure to the mentality of employers and wealthy GCC nationals and I'm sorry, but this is fact.

2 - Many south asians see those at the lower ends of the food chain, which obviously constitutes the vaste majority, as livestock. Abuse and exploitation are the common currency. You can see it there just as evidently as you can see it here.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia's new heir leads revolution of powerful millennials

Saudi Arabia's new heir leads revolution of powerful millennials

Why the youngest crown prince in living memory represents a broader...

Three things to watch as Saudi Arabia names new heir to throne

Three things to watch as Saudi Arabia names new heir to throne

Yemen, the Saudi economy and the Qatar-Gulf crisis will be high...

How Mohammed bin Salman rose to become Saudi Arabia's most influential figure

How Mohammed bin Salman rose to become Saudi Arabia's most influential figure

Profile: New heir to Saudi throne holds power beyond his years...

Most Discussed