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Recruitment offices ‘driving black market' for housemaids
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 02 - 2015

Saudi Gazette report

TAIF — Numerous citizens have complained that recruitment offices are demanding excessive fees without providing the services they promise, Al-Watan daily reported.
Obaid Bin Saad Al-Abdali, professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals professor, said the Ministry of Labor has successfully completed many projects but until now has failed to reorganize expatriate affairs.
“The disorganization left room for a black market between recruitment offices and their clients. Who is responsible for plugging these loopholes? One violation leads to another and in the absence of a fair system people will do whatever they can to fulfill their needs and meet their necessities,” said Al-Abdali.
He recalled an incident when he applied for an e-visa for a Filipino housemaid from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Enjaz, which is one of the services provided by the ministry in cooperation with recruitment offices in the Philippines.
“It is a good service but one of the new regulations was to authenticate the visa documents with a local recruitment office. However, when I visited many of them I found that they charge an incredibly high price reaching up to SR1,500 just to authenticate my papers. I tried going to the Chamber of Commerce to authenticate the papers but they told me that is not within their range of services,” said Al-Abdali.
He was able to complete the procedure after negotiating and setting on a price of SR900 at one recruitment office.
“This is obvious exploitation. The government works on facilitating services for us and the commercial sector abuses the system and the people. Unfortunately, recruitment offices are not a disposable entity in the process and they are abusing their power by charging citizens excessive prices and no authority is regulating them,” said Al-Abdali.
He said the matter has spiraled out of control and citizens are left to deal with greedy recruitment offices or hire illegal expatriates from the black market.
“Illegal housemaids' salaries have reached SR4,500 a month. This is unbearable and the government must intervene to stop this corruption,” said Al-Abdali.
Citizen Abdullah Al-Zahrani said he suffered a lot at the hands of recruitment offices, losing large sums of money in the process.
“My wife works and we were in a desperate need for a maid to stay home with the children. I applied at many recruitment offices and waited a year with no response. Eventually, I had to illegally hire a pilgrim who came here to perform Umrah. We pay her a monthly salary of SR3,000 because we were desperate,” said Al-Zahrani.

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