Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — Some recruitment offices are hiring housemaids through middlemen in Gulf countries by circumventing the law, Al-Madina Arabic daily reported on Saturday quoting sources.

They either bring housemaids on visit visas or pay a Gulf citizen to hire them then letting them work for Saudis.

The visit visas of these maids are renewed every six months, the sources claimed.

This recruitment process takes up to six months and costs $8,000, according to the sources.

Housemaids are hired from countries from where Saudi recruitment offices are not allowed to hire domestic workers.

The salaries of housemaids hired through such illegal means are based on negotiations between recruitment offices and Saudi clients.

In 2013, the Kingdom announced that it will establish official domestic worker recruitment programs with nine countries in Asia.

The Saudi authorities also signed labor agreements with India, Indonesia and Philippines to facilitate the recruitment of domestic workers through legal means.

In 2015, the Kingdom gave the go ahead to hire housemaids from Ethiopia and Somalia.

The number of housemaids working in the Kingdom exceed 1.5 million. The cost for recruitment of a housemaid ranges from $5,327 to $6,659. The cost rises in Ramadan and the festival (Eid) seasons.

In 2013, the Council of Ministers approved a law that protects the rights of domestic workers and their employers.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has announced that the recruitment of Indonesian domestic workers takes a maximum of one month after the issuance of the visa.

This was announced after the ministry signed an agreement with the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration for hiring domestic workers from Indonesia, said a source.

The agreement includes a total of nine articles. The first article states that Indonesian domestic workers will be granted their rights and told about their responsibilities as stated in the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration’s regulations. Saudi Gazette report, 23 October 2016