Search form

Welcome to Arab News

You are here

Saudi Arabia

Court orders sponsor to pay maid SR68,000

A high court judge has ordered a Saudi sponsor to pay his Sri Lankan housemaid SR68,000 in back wages owed for the past 13 years.
The high court in Hail, about 400 km from Riyadh, ruled that the sponsor must pay Seda Cader Ismail Asia Umma, 59, the money and her airfare home to Colombo.
She is currently staying at the Women’s Welfare Camp in Hail, under police protection. The Saudi sponsor, Mubarak Al-Qahtani, has launched an appeal against the judgment at the final court of appeal in Riyadh.
Umma, from Beruwela in Sri Lanka, had come to the Kingdom for an agreed wage of SR400 a month.
An official from the Sri Lankan Embassy told Arab News that she had sought work in the Kingdom to help her three school-going daughters.
The mission, he said, spotted the case when the sponsor came to the embassy to renew her passport in 2014. Following formal inquiries, the mission’s officials found that the maid had been kept as a slave and not paid her salary from the time she arrived. The embassy registered a complaint with the police.
The official said he hoped the appeals court would reject the sponsor’s attempt to overturn the verdict. He said the embassy would transport Umma to Riyadh where the appeal would be heard.
The official said Umma had been in the Saudi household for such a long time that she has forgotten Tamil, her mother tongue. Now she only speaks Arabic. She is determined to go home and has thanked the embassy officials for helping to free her, he said.
The Sri Lankan Embassy is open round-the-clock for distressed housemaids seeking emergency assistance. It deals largely with cases of non-payment of salaries and breach of contract.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Mohamed told Arab News that the embassy makes sure it only handles genuine cases. It does not accept illegal Sri Lankan workers under its welfare program, he said.

MORE FROM Saudi Arabia