Ban on new domestics from Indonesia, Philippines remains: Labor Ministry

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Author: Arab News

Thursday 15 March 2012

RIYADH: The Ministry of Labor on Wednesday said the ban on recruitment of domestic workers from Indonesia and Philippines will remain in place until the two countries change their conditions that demand improved rights for any employees that come to the Kingdom.

The conditions stipulated unilaterally by the two countries included higher wages for workers and many other conditions, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
“The ministry suspended the recruitment of domestic laborers from Indonesia and Philippines until solutions guaranteeing the protection of the interests of all parties are found,” said the ministry’s statement on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia imposed the ban last year and said it will import from other labor supplying markets.
“The decisions have been taken after attempts to solve the issues through discussions with concerned officials in those two countries failed,” the statement said.
The statement also said it made some changes to the regulations governing the issue of visas for shepherds and farm hands.
An individual citizen with 50 camels or 150-500 sheep or cows will be granted a shepherd visa. He will also be eligible to have a public vehicle driver if he has a water tanker.
A farmer with 100 palm trees or farmland of 20 dunums (a dunum is 900 square meters) will also be granted a farmhand visa. “The ministry does not set any other conditions or financial documents to issue such visas,” the statement said.
If a citizen has more than 50 camels or 500 sheep or cow heads, he is eligible for a second shepherd visa. The citizen must have a monthly income of SR3,500 or an average bank balance of SR30,000 to get two visas. The ministry set the income level to ensure citizens can afford to pay each worker a salary of SR800 per month.  A farmer who wants three or four labor visas should have more than 200 dunums of land and submit documents of his financial status. He should also register for social insurance, but there is no need to subscribe to social insurance.
A fourth visa would be issued to a citizen if he has more than 700 camels or 2,500 sheep or cows.
If a citizen needs more than four workers his activity would be considered as a business and will be subjected to regulations related to animal breeding or farming, the statement said.
However, the ministry stressed an imported worker should not be used for any other purpose other than the work for which he is recruited.
Any labor supply agency attempting to exploit citizens will be punished, the statement warned.

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