The Minister of Labor, Dr. Mufrej Al Haqbani spoke to the media the other day during which he discussed several Labor related topics and issues. His talks had been held in relation to various articles and pieces written about the Ministry of Labor and their plan to allow the foreign recruitment offices to enter the market in Saudi Arabia. This is especially true for the Gulf recruitment offices. Several Saudi citizens have started using the services of these recruitment offices which are operating in other countries in the GCC region in order to hire domestic workers as a sort of black market is existing and operating in the Kingdom for expatriate workers.
The defense laid out by the Minister of Labor was quite apt and convincing, however there was still much more than the Saudi people hoped for, from the Ministry of Labor. Prior to being appointed Minister, Mr. Al Haqbani had been the undersecretary for development and planning for a long time, hence he is equipped with the experience necessary to deliver. The Minister stated that the Saudis are responsible for complicating this issue. He explained that any Saudi who might be unaware of the human rights and commits a violation of those rights, then the country from where the expatriate comes from will also get directly involved, which will no doubt simply complicate the issue. The country of origin could also put a limit or even a ban from providing workers to work in the Kingdom.
When the Ministry of Labor promoted Indian domestic workers entering the Kingdom as a substitute to the Indonesian workers, certain percentages had been imposed upon the recruitment offices for the issuance of the visas. However when one Indian housemaid decided to run away from her Saudi employer, who had prohibited her from keeping a cell phone, the Saudi family broke her arm. As soon as the news broke, the whole of India had a commotion, to such an extent that the Indian Government had to come in to calm everything down. They also imposed a moratorium on recruitment immediately.
We must ponder where the true problem lies. Is it pure ignorance, negligence or even both from the local Saudi people that there is no law governing the relationship between the domestic workers and their host families in the Kingdom? Secondly if the driver or maid runs away shortly after arrival, why aren’t the people compensated for the thousands of riyals spent on their employment.
Is it just an issue of being primitive or racist? Why is it that the Ethiopian house maids in the Kingdom are treated similar to slaves from when slavery was legal? A general answer to these questions is no. while there are some who might treat their house maids badly; those who treat them kindly are clearly in majority. There can however be various psychological issues in the maids who might have not been diagnosed and noted during the employment process, and hence it can cause several issues between employee and employer. Hence all maids should be ensured of not having any mental issues.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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