By Courtney Trenwith
India, which supplies hundreds of thousands of workers to Saudi Arabia, is angry at the kingdom’s decision that at least 25% of new recruits must be domestic maids
India has reportedly suspended sending its citizens to Saudi Arabia because of a row over domestic maids.
The decision is in protest over a Saudi Ministry of Labour directive that at least 25 percent of new foreigner workers should be recruited from countries sending domestic employees from June 1, Saudi Gazette reported, citing sources at recruitment firms in the Eastern Province.
India does not typically send domestic workers, but has hundreds of thousands of citizens working in construction, finance and other industries in the kingdom.
The decision was unacceptable to India, the sources told Saudi Gazette.
“Manpower offices sending Indian workers to the Kingdom have informed the recruitment firms on Wednesday through phone calls that New Delhi had stopped sending all categories of workers to the Kingdom,” a source was quoted as saying.
In return, Saudi Arabia has said visas would not be issued to Indians until the conditions are met, the paper said. It is not clear whether that also applies to non-working visas, as thousands of Indian Muslims prepare to visit the kingdom for Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages.
Saudi Arabia made the decision in a bid to speed up the recruitment of maids after complaints the waiting list was too long.
India’s decision comes despite an agreement last week to enhance bilateral cooperation, knowledge exchange and business ties during a meeting with high level ministers.