Our Labor Minister and Housewives

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Khaled Al-Sulaiman, Okaz

Published — Thursday 31 March 2005

Last Update 31 March 2005 3:00 am

Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi says there is no link between the increase in maids running away from their sponsors and the decision by his ministry to tighten regulations governing the recruitment of foreign workers. According to the minister, the number of visas approved by the ministry for the recruitment of domestic workers is not at a crisis level. At the same time, however, he pointed out that visas for domestic workers had increased by 25 percent. Against that figure, the minister said his ministry had managed to cut by 150,000 the number of visas for foreign workers recruited by the private sector.

The increase in visas for domestic workers can easily be attributed to the availability of jobs offered by families wishing to employ maids and other workers on a temporary basis. These families are ready to pay these workers double the salary they are receiving from their original sponsors who brought them to the country.

It is definitely not the responsibility of the ministry to chase the mafia that is involved in this kind of trade, but everyone in this country shares the responsibility. We have all contributed to providing conditions suitable to the presence of these workers by employing them on a temporary basis although we know very well that what we do is against the law. We employ and shelter them without consideration of the adverse effects.

It seems the minister who declared war on the recruitment of foreign workers and decided to streamline the economy by ridding it of undesirable signs did not want to open a new front with housewives.

If the bravest of the brave who stood up to the most aggressive corporate executives and sought to force Saudization on these companies and establishments by making them employ nationals was unwilling to open a new front with housewives, perhaps the truth is that no one, no matter how courageous, would be willing to do so.

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