Saudi ministry takes action against 126 housemaid offices

Businesses said to face closure, fines or prosecution for human trafficking

More than 100 housemaid recruitment offices in Saudi Arabia have been banned from recruiting for violating rules, local media reported on Monday.

The 126 businesses face closure and possible fines of SR10,000 ($2,664) and they may also be accused of human trafficking, according to Saudi Gazette.

Under current regulations, recruitment offices may hire domestic workers from eight Saudi government-approved countries – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Niger.

The cost or recruiting domestic help from these countries ranges from SR8,000 ($2,131) to SR22,000 ($5,862), the newspaper said.

A spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development was quoted as saying the ministry had taken action against non-compliant recruitment offices following recent complaints from the public.

The complaints reportedly included price manipulation of services and violation of employment contracts signed with domestic workers.

As part of its crackdown, the ministry also refused to renew operating licences for six recruitment offices and terminated licences for seven others.

Meanwhile, the ministry was said to have refunded a total of SR1.7 million ($453,000) to Saudi families who were not provided with the agreed services.

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