Ethiopia cancels 40,000 work visas for KSA-bound housemaids

Updated 12 August 2013

Ethiopia cancels 40,000 work visas for KSA-bound housemaids

The Ethiopian government has canceled 40,000 work visas for housemaids destined for the Kingdom and has permanently stopped sending any manpower, local media reported.
The decision apparently came in retaliation for the Saudi government’s decision last week to impose a temporary ban on the recruitment of house workers from Ethiopia.
The decision, jointly announced by the Ministries of Interior and Labor, came as investigations were launched into the recent separate incidents involving the murder of children by the maids who were looked after them.
Salih Harnadah, a member of the Recruitment Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said the Ethiopian government had halted transactions including visas issued before the Kingdom’s latest recruitment ban.
There are an estimated 40,000 houseworker visas whose fees are processed by recruitment offices. The money will be refunded to Saudi citizens if the Ethiopian government stands by its decision, he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor has opened channels of communications with nine countries for the recruitment of house workers.
Ministry Undersecretary for International Cooperation Ahmed Al-Fihaid said deals will be signed with these countries to make recruitment procedures easier.
He said India will be the first country to sign houseworker recruitment deals following a similar step with the Philippines at the beginning of the current Hijri year.
The ministry has been in contact with Vietnam, Cambodia and seven other countries, including Nepal, Laos and Bangladesh, to recruit house workers, notably female housemaids. However, the finalization period is difficult to predict since it rests on internal procedures within those countries, he said.
He said the step is aimed at opening new labor markets and diversifying, adding that salaries will be determined by the countries from which houseworkers are recruited in coordination with the Ministry of Labor.
In a related development, recruitment dealers said the memorandum of understandings (MoU) being worked out with the relevant countries, notably the Philippines and Sri Lanka, will help bridge the gap and facilitate recruitment procedures to recruit house workers as easily as possible.
Mohammed Khawaji, a member of the National Recruitment Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), said a delay in signing an agreement with Sri Lanka has caused recruitment costs to rise to between SR17,000 to SR22,000 compared to SR13,000 to SR17,000 in the Philippines although Filipino house maids are more qualified.

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.