Low salary, abuse fears keep Bangladeshi maids away

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The number of Bangladeshi nationals registered as house maids in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been much lower than expected, according to Mohamed Sarwar Alam, labor counselor at the Bangladesh mission, reports Arab News. Only 5,000 women have registered at about 100 recruitment offices in different regions of Bangladesh,’ he said, adding that registration does not mean that all will come to the Kingdom. Medical exams and other reasons may also cut the numbers further. He said procedures and paperwork for about 500 maids have been completed and that the maids are expected to arrive in the Kingdom during Ramadan. ‘A monthly salary of SR800 does not attract them to leave behind their country and families,’ he said. Other countries pay higher salaries. In Hong Kong, a maid can expect a monthly salary of $250 to $300 (SR937 to SR1,125). Other reasons for hesitation are fear and concern that workers are not entitled to legal rights as stated in the employment contract. ‘Bangladesh stopped sending workers to Saudi Arabia more than eight years ago, so getting started again might take a little time,’ said Sarwar. He also said that past experiences of maids working in Saudi Arabia were often negative and that some Saudi employers made excessive demands on the women. Saudi labor ministry spokesman Tayseer Al-Mufrij said his ministry was working with the relevant bodies to overcome the obstacles hindering the arrival of domestic workers in the Kingdom. According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, only 116 Bangladeshi housemaids have so far left for Saudi Arabia in May. Another 198 Bangladeshi housemaids went to the Kingdom from February to April in the current year, BMET data show. BMET director general Begum Shamsun Nahar told New Age that as a few of the female workers opted for flying to Saudi Arabia, the process would continue round the year.

Source: New Age