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

Updated 12 August 2013
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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.


FaceOf: Dr. Hussein bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, imam at Prophet’s Mosque and high court judge

Updated 20 August 2018
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FaceOf: Dr. Hussein bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, imam at Prophet’s Mosque and high court judge

Dr. Hussein bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh is a respected imam and sermon performer at the Prophet’s Mosque, as well as a judge at the High Court in Madinah.

A royal recommendation by King Salman made Al-Asheikh the official sermon deliverer on the day of Arafat, 9 of Dul Hijjah. He will give this year’s sermon at Al-Nimra Mosque, one of the holy sites in Arafat, as well as leading Dhur and Asr prayers.

Last year, the Arafat sermon and prayers were performed by Sheikh Dr. Saad Shafaee Al-Shetri. In 2016, Sheikh Dr. Abdurrahman Al-Sudais, chief of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, led the prayers.

Born in Bani Tamim in southern Saudi Arabia, Al-Asheikh pursued his scholarly career in Riyadh. He received his bachelor’s degree from Shariah College in Riyadh, and then joined the Higher Judicial Institute, receiving a master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate.

Al-Asheikh studied under great Islamic scholars, getting appointed as a magistrate in 1985. Five years later, he became a judge in the Great Court of Najran. He was transferred a year later to the Grand Court in Riyadh, where he stayed for many years before he joined the Grand Court in Madinah in 1997, receiving the royal decree that appointed him as an imam at the Prophet’s Mosque.

He has been leading prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque for more than two decades, while lecturing at the University of Madinah.

He has delivered many scientific lectures in jurisprudence, Tawheed, Hadith and grammar, in addition to some lectures at places such as the Great Mosque in Riyadh.