By Claire Valdini
Workers in the oil-rich kingdom will be paid US$160-213 per month under new rules
Saudi Arabia has set a
minimum wage of SAR600-800 (US$160-213) for foreign domestic workers in the Gulf
Officials in the GCC’s
largest country set the cost of recruitment fees at SAR15,000 - 17,000, local
media reported citing Saad Al-Badah, chairman of the national recruitment
committee at the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Recruitment fees will be
inclusive of visa costs, two-year medical insurance, a one-way ticket,
residence permit fees for two years and a medical checkup, said Al-Badah,
adding that he expected the move to reduce the number of runaway cases amongst
domestic workers by 80 percent.
Saudi Arabia, like much of
the Gulf region, depends on foreign workers to fill jobs at all levels of the
economy. The Gulf state is home to around 8m foreign workers.
The kingdom stopped issuing
visas for domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia after those
governments attempted to impose stricter conditions on Saudi employers, such as
higher minimum pay and better working conditions.
The Philippines government
last month said it was close to agreeing a deal with the kingdom that would set
the minimum wage for Filipino nationals working in the kingdom - estimated at
around 1.2m - at US$300.
Around 15 percent of Filipinos workers in the
kingdom are estimated to work as maids or drivers.
Last month it was reported
that the oil-rich state planned to import 45,000 Ethiopian nationals into the
kingdom every month in order to meet its requirement for domestic workers.