Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) announced on 3 January the launch of an electronic complaints service for the domestic work sector on Musaned, the official electronic platform for recruitment of domestic workers in Saudi.
According to the MHRSD, the new service will allow employers to electronically submit complaints involving recruitment agencies, without needing to visit labour offices or other channels. Upon receiving a complaint, the Ministry will proceed to resolve the dispute amicably and if no solution is reached, the complaint will be investigated and settled by the MHRSD.
The new complaint mechanism does not include domestic workers, who are most at risk of serious abuse. Instead, these workers must still wrestle with Saudi’s existing weak complaint and redressal mechanisms.
The Saudi government consistently prioritises employers’ rights while neglecting those of domestic workers. For example, the Ministry of Labour recently registered thousands of violations against recruitment agencies for violating contracts and recovered more than SR630,000 from them on behalf of employers. At the same time, in the midst of the pandemic, many domestic workers faced wage theft and forced labour with no intervention from the government.
Saudi resumed the recruitment of domestic workers on 7 October 2020 after a seven-month pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has since enacted a series of regulations concerning the recruitment of domestic workers, but none regarding their rights. Domestic workers are also excluded from Saudi’s planned Kafala reforms.