Who is Responsible for the Domestic Worker Recruitment Crisis?

Yasser Ali Al-Marek

The recruitment issue has proved to be a difficult one with no solution on the horizon. Saudis still fall easy prey to recruitment offices that only have the goal of making money and this takes place amid the complete silence of the Ministry of Labor and its seeming inability to protect the rights of citizens. Poor monitoring and supervision of the recruitment market is where the problem lies.

We have the highest recruitment fees in the Gulf region and the worst and slowest recruitment procedures. How can the recruitment process of a housemaid take 10 months and cost SR20,000? Can we accept the fact that the Ministry of Labor, in spite of all of its capabilities, has failed to solve this problem and stop the abuse of our citizens while other Gulf countries are successful in protecting the rights of their citizens? The recruitment fees in other Gulf countries are 60 percent cheaper than what we are charged here in the Kingdom?

The finger of blame should be pointed at the Ministry of Labor because it is not protecting our citizens from being exploited. If a Saudi wants to recruit a driver, he has  to wait for months. After waiting all that time, he will be surprised to learn that the so-called driver does not know how to operate a car. If a Saudi wants to recruit a housemaid, he will go through the same process. After the housemaid spends three months with him, she will run away and with her goes the SR20,000 in recruitment fees that her employer had invested.

There is a recruitment mafia that runs this entire business. Who should be held responsible for this? The Ministry of Labor is the one responsible for finding solutions to this problem. It has two options: either it protects citizens against manipulation and extortionate prices or it opens the door for citizens to use other Gulf recruitment offices to bring labor into the Kingdom.

(Source: SaudiGazette.com.sa)

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