As Covid-19 restrictions ease and international flights resume, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have resumed issuing visas for domestic workers after many months of suspension.
UAE’s Federal Authority For Identity and Citizenship announced on 6 October that it will resume issuing entry permits for domestic workers along with workers in the government and semi-government sectors and those who work in “vital sectors”. Work permit applicants must submit applications through the authority’s website and must present a negative Covid-19 test result before the arrival of the worker into the country. Employers are also required to ensure their employees are quarantined for 14-days upon arrival.
Existing visa-holders in the categories mentioned above are also allowed to enter the UAE, provided that their employers submit applications via the authority's website.
According to local media, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has resumed the recruitment of domestic workers from abroad via “Musaned” on 7 October. Saudi had suspended the recruitment process on 16 March.
In this regard, the MHRSD has issued a new decision that stipulates the recruitment period for new contracts to be within 120 days (up from 90 days). In the event that the recruitment agency fails to bring the domestic worker within that time frame, the contract between the employer and the agency will be extended for additional 30 days and a delay penalty of 15% of the contract value will be imposed on the agency, payable to the employer. And if the domestic worker fails to arrive after the 30 days extension period the contract will be considered void and the recruitment agency will be obligated to reimburse the recruitment cost to the employer with a delayed penalty of 20% of the contract value.
According to the latest statistics, the number of work permits issued for domestic workers in Saudi has slightly increased during the Covid-19 period, from 3,658,730 in Q1 2020 to 3,704,641 in Q2 2020.