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.