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Thu 13 Jun 2013 01:12 PM

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Saudi Arabia to rehire Indian maids on lower wages

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

Saudi Arabia to rehire Indian maids on lower wages
(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.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

Anon 7 years ago

Shame on KSA, does their avarice and greed know no bounds?

Oldtimer 7 years ago

But WHY, Oh WHY? Shouldn't Saudisation logically be extended to these jobs as well? WHY increase the South Asian expat population that could be detrimental to the religious, cultural, social and demographic balance of Saudi Arabia? Just imagine the BAD vibes that the kids in these households would be exposed to! The alien culture and language might scar the psyche of impressionable youngsters in these households! Are there NO locals willing to work at that pay scale? Or take the harsh treatment usually meted out to these less fortunate souls? NONE at ALL?!!! Hmm......

Kuwaiti 7 years ago

I rather blame the countries who are selling their citizens for couple of dollars.

Hisham 7 years ago

If overall working conditions and treatment are really that poor, and the government is aware of this, then apparently India desperately needs the remittance and is willing to sacrifice their nationals in the process. Instead of coming up with a real solution to their uncontrolled explosive population growth, this sugar coated government endorsed slavery is how they plan to feed their nation? It proves that you can have "democracy" and "financial growth" (and I place this between quotation marks because it is all very relative when a vast majority will continue to live far below the poverty line for the next decades), and still have no progress whatsoever... In the meanwhile, who gets blamed by Western media? The "evil Arab" who despite the logical market forces of supply and demand should pay higher wages. And when 1 out of the perhaps 10 million maids gets mistreated they have another perfect excuse of pointing out just how evil these families are...

bre 7 years ago

Very well said, after all what's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

Hopefully the Indian Govt. will consider the cruelty imposed in the past and make it harder for the Saudi's to be able to import house help. Amazing how one human being can treat another with so much disrespect & cruelty? I’ve heard many stories, I’m truly appalled.

TruthAndJustice 7 years ago

I'm afraid the victim mentality that some of the contributors here (I assume they are mainly Gulf Arabs) have demonstrated is simply beyond belief. The gulf (no pun intended) in earnings and lifestyles between the employee and the employer in these cases is usually vast.
If you widen the scope to include manual labourers, construction workers, and low-skilled staff then there is a clear pattern of exploitation and denial of basic rights (at least by modern standards). The class-based society persists with its own peculiar strand of institutionalised racist stereotyping. That is not to say that all local employers - or even the majority - are inclined to abuse their considerable powers. But it is disingenuous to suggest that this abuse is either rare or the fault of the abused.
The reality is that the global economic powerhouses of the next 50 years are the home nations of many of those that are currently exploited, and you know what they say: what goes around comes around...

Hisham 7 years ago

At least the people who, according to your hypocrite Western views, exploit these workers PAY them for their services rendered. When your people decided to set foot in their country they were treated a hell of a lot less humane. Or are we playing the "conveniently forgot what my grandfather did" game?

Oldtimer 7 years ago

Hisham and his ilk seem to return to historical injustices at the drop of a hat. Grow up man! We live in the present and we reached there having learned from our past mistakes and created a better standard of living respecting universal human rights. The bane of the Middle East is many people like Hisham want to revisit the past! The few countries in the ME having enlightened leadership have progressed by leaps and bounds while the majority wallow in self pity and consequent economic and political misery!

expat citzen 7 years ago

What about countries that buy other country's citizen for a couple dollars ? You seem to be at peace with them...

Hisham 7 years ago

Actually it's just becoming sort of a joke how Westerners want to act all self-righteous and are the only ones unable to see the hypocrisy in the things they do and say. Apparently you can just decide from a moment to the next that you think the dirt is wiped off your hands, and then point a finger from those same hands at others.