Ethiopian maids expected to arrive before Ramadan

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DAMMAM/JEDDAH — The first groups of newly recruited housemaids from Ethiopia are expected to arrive in the Kingdom before the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts early May, according to industry sources.

The sources, however, did not reveal the exact cost of recruitment but said it might be between SR7,500 and SR8,000.

They said a number of Saudi recruitment offices had finalized contracts with their counterparts in Addis Ababa during the past few weeks to bring the workers to the Kingdom.

According to the sources, the time required for recruiting housemaids in Ethiopia and bringing them to the Kingdom will not exceed 60 days.

The Ethiopian authorities have made it a condition that every housemaid traveling to the Kingdom must hold a certificate of good conduct.

The authorities also made it a condition that the maids were provided with suitable accommodation once they arrive in the Kingdom.

The sources said most of the paperwork concerning the recruitment of the maids would be done at the Ethiopian Embassy in Riyadh and therefore the recruitment procedures would not take a long time.

They said all the maids would be hired from all Ethiopian cities and towns but not from villages as was the case.

The sources expected the arrival of Ethiopian housemaids to put pressure on other countries sending housemaids to the Kingdom, particularly with regard to the cost of recruitment.

Meanwhile, Saudi recruitment offices insisted that housemaids hired from Ethiopia should be free of infectious diseases and must have clean criminal record.

They said before they were hired, the women must undergo psychiatric screening at hospitals accredited by the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa.

Speaking to Al-Madina Arabic daily, Yahya Al-Maqbool, chairman of the recruitment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said the maids should not be less than 23 years of age, should have enough experience in household chores and must also be trained for at least 30 days at the special training centers for grooming them.

“These conditions are meant to prevent maids with health, criminal or security records from coming to the Kingdom,” he explained.

Jamal Zahrani, chairman of the recruitment committee of the Taif Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Saudi recruitment offices must be committed to pay their Ethiopian counterparts the value of the unified recruitment contract, which is $900 (SR3,375).

He said the import of Ethiopian housemaids must be done through the Saudi recruitment offices and companies and not left to individual brokers.

Zahrani said the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development fixed the monthly salary of Ethiopian maids at SR850 but the Ethiopian government was asking for SR1,200.

The recruitment offices expect the housemaids to arrive well before the advent of the fasting month, which is the peak period of demand for house helps in the Kingdom.

Recruitment offices insist on health checks, psychiatric screening

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