Saudi Arabia set to sign Indonesia domestic maids deal

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that it will soon agree a deal with Indonesia on the employment of domestic maids in the Gulf kingdom.

The draft agreement comes more than two years after Indonesia banned maids from travelling to the country for work after requesting raises in minimum salary, weekly time off and reassurances over human rights after a number of cases of abuse by Saudi employers. Saudi responded by applying its own ban.

Indonesia was angered in June 2011 when Riyadh failed to inform it that 54-year-old Indonesian citizen Ruyati binti Saputi had been beheaded after she was convicted of beating her employer’s wife to death with a meat cleaver.

Now, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour has signed a deal with the Indonesian Ministry of Labour and Immigration to regulate renewed hiring of domestic workers, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Dr Ahmed F Al-Fahaid, deputy labour minister for international affairs, said the two countries will sign a landmark labour pact in the few coming months.

He said the agreement would “regulate hiring domestic workers and to ensure protection to all domestic help already employed in the kingdom”.

Al-Fahaid added that “the agreement will have the same provisions including protection mechanism for domestic help as the one we signed with India earlier this month”.‌

Last year, it was reported that Saudi Arabia will establish official domestic worker recruitment programmes with nine new countries in Asia.

The oil-rich kingdom, which employs tens of thousands of maids and drivers, will expand its target countries to include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos and India.