Saudi Arabia bans maids from Indonesia, Philippines

July 1st, 2011 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Riyadh, July 1 (IANS/AKI) Saudi Arabia has announced plans to stop issuing visas to women domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines after the countries put forward strict conditions on the recruitment of helpers.

“The ministry of labour will stop issuing work visas to domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia as of July 2,” Saudi ministry of labour spokesman Hattab Bin Saleh Al-Anzi said.

He said Saudi recruitment agencies would now seek domestic workers from other countries.

Officials said plans are on to employ workers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Mali and Kenya.

Indonesia imposed a moratorium on export of labour to Saudi Arabia after an Indonesian migrant worker was executed by Saudi authorities after she was convicted of murdering her Saudi employer.

Indonesia said the moratorium would come into effect Aug 1 and remain in place until Saudi Arabia agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to protect the rights of Indonesian workers.

The decision to also suspend recruitment from the Philippines comes after Manila put forward several strict conditions on the recruitment of helpers.

Albert Q. Valenciano, the labour attache at the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, said he was “saddened” and “amazed” at the Saudi statement.

Valenciano said the embassy had sent a note to the Saudi foreign ministry for a joint meeting but had received no response. The Saudi government had sent a delegation in April to the Philippines to negotiate the labour dispute, but the talks broke down.

The Philippine government said there are over 1.2 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia, of whom about 180,000 are domestic workers.

More than one million Indonesian workers are said to be in Saudi Arabia.


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