Saudis want to personally interview maids
“Saudis now seem more cautious than before. They wish to interview their housemaids personally. It actually makes our work easier because our clients have to share the responsibility if their maids cheat them,” said Amer Muhammad, the manager of Al-Kuba recruitment company.
“Despite fingerprinting, the dilemma of absconding maids still exists at a certain level. Saudis are avoiding domestic workers from far-eastern and south Asian countries. They are interested in other countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya to avoid any bad experiences and financial loss,” he said.
Muhammad said that most of the housemaids from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh have been running away for better salaries.
“To justify their absconding, they usually falsely accuse their sponsors of abusive behavior and nonpayment,” he said.
There are one million domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. Some 44,124 visas have been approved for domestic workers in 2011. This is 36 percent of the total of 1.2 million recruitment visas approved for the private sector.
Runaway housemaids have been causing immense financial losses for Saudi sponsors. Every year, Saudis spend SR28 billion on domestic workers.
Umm Muhammad Abdul-Hadi, a teacher, was unable to bear the financial loss after her two housemaids from Sri Lanka ran away. She then hired Indonesian housemaids locally, who have been in demand recently after many of their illegal expatriates were sent home.
“I have been paying SR1,500 to each of my maids. They are always throwing tantrums. They never hesitate to warn me that they will leave the job,” said Umm Muhammad Abdul-Hadi.
“I applied for house maid visas from Kenya. I intend to travel soon to personally select the good housemaids,” she said. (Saudi Gazette)