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Tue 12 Jul 2016 01:44 PM

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Saudi labour attachés mooted 'to curb use of foreign recruiters'

Government wants to tighten up procedure for hiring overseas workers across the kingdom

Saudi labour attachés mooted 'to curb use of foreign recruiters'
(Image for illustrative purpose only - Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia plans to appoint labour ‘attachés’ in the kingdom’s biggest expat markets to restrict the activity of recruitment brokers, it has been reported.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development is concerned that the recruitment market is under-regulated, especially in sectors such as the housemaid workforce, where there have been reports of a black market trade in domestic help.

The ministry believes increasing diplomatic involvement in the overseas hiring process would tighten up procedures and enable closer monitoring of the expat workforce.

A source told Saudi Gazette: “The ministry thinks labour attachés can restrict recruitment brokers and regulate the recruitment business.

“The ministry hopes to clean the recruitment market off brokers and offer a fully organized recruitment market.”

An attaché is an official person “attached” to a nation’s diplomatic or administrative staff, normally under the authority of an ambassador or other diplomat.

The kingdom has already launched the ‘Musaned’ programme for domestic workers, Saudi Gazette reported, under which the labour ministry oversees recruitment requests, salary negotiations and visa permit procedures for new hires.

The newspaper quoted Saudi economic analyst Fadh Al Buainain as saying: “Having attachés in labour exporting countries will help overcome many obstacles such as diplomatic negotiations.”

However, he urged the labour ministry to work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to appoint and oversee the work of the attachés.