Report on fee hike for Sri Lankan helpers misleading: Envoy

Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim
Updated 18 April 2017
0

Report on fee hike for Sri Lankan helpers misleading: Envoy

RIYADH: Reports of a hefty rise in recruitment fees for Sri Lankan domestic helpers, including maids, are misleading, said Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim on Sunday.
“The Sri Lankan government is not involved in the hike of recruitment fees because business transactions are done by private Saudi and Sri Lankan agents,” he said.
A report published in local Arabic press said Sri Lankan recruitment offices have raised recruitment costs of domestic workers from $1,560 to $3,000, representing a 92 percent hike.
The report added that Sri Lankan agents have been delaying or suspending travel permits of workers waiting to be deployed in the Kingdom “to put pressure on Saudi recruitment offices to pay the hefty amount for hiring domestic aides.”
Thassim said: “The Kingdom and Sri Lanka will be holding talks soon to address the grievances of the parties concerned, and will hammer out a solution to the problem.”
The Saudi Embassy in Sri Lanka earlier issued an instruction for Saudi recruitment agents to pay $1,560 to hire a Sri Lankan housemaid, he added.
In the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan and Eid festivities, Saudi Arabia requires more household workers.
Both governments are keen to talk and solve the issue, but “private business transactions between Saudi and Sri Lankan recruitment agencies cannot be stopped by the government until Riyadh and Colombo reach a settlement,” the envoy said.
The report quoted Hussain Al-Mutairi, head of the recruitment committee at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as saying: “Sri Lankan recruitment offices have played with recruitment costs, which were at $1,560 as stipulated by an agreement signed between the Saudi and Sri Lankan offices.”
He added that the Sri Lankan offices “have also hiked other related charges including the monthly salary, which was raised and fixed at SR1,300 ($346) by Sri Lankan agents last February compared to SR1,100 as previously agreed.”
Al-Mutairi accused Sri Lankan recruitment offices of exerting enormous pressure on their Saudi counterparts.
He called on Saudi offices “not to respond to these pressures ... A unified position from the Saudi side will make the Sri Lankan offices work in line with the unified price agreed upon by both parties.”
Saudi Arabia is home to about 200,000 Sri Lankan workers, about 50 percent of them domestic helpers, mostly housemaids.


Jeddah Summer Festival is now ‘on the map’

New events were presented for the first time at the 20th edition of Jeddah Summer Festival this year. (SPA)
Updated 49 min 47 sec ago
0

Jeddah Summer Festival is now ‘on the map’

  • Jeddah Summer Festival gave a variety of options to investors in the tourism sector to expand investment

JEDDAH: Jeddah Summer Festival drew to a close on Saturday evening, boosting Saudi investment in domestic tourism through cultural and entertainment activities, theater performances, folk art, sea shows, shopping, sporting events and poetry evenings.
The month-long festival was the result of intensive efforts from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). Major commercial centers participated in a competition for 500 awards worth SR2 million ($0.53 billion).
JCCI General Secretary Hassan bin Ibrahim Dahlan said Jeddah Summer Festival “is now on the map of regional tourism festivals.”
Dahlan said the organizers of these events were keen to highlight the cultural and civilizational dimension of the Makkah region in general and Jeddah, in particular, to make a qualitative leap in domestic tourism in line with the Vision 2030.
New events were presented for the first time at the 20th edition of Jeddah Summer Festival this year.
He also pointed out that the Jeddah Summer Festival gave a variety of options to investors in the tourism sector to expand investment in the marketing and entertainment sector.