Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) recently added the recruitment of 13 distinct domestic work categories to its Musaned platform.
According to the MHRSD, the 13 categories are as follows:
Female driver, private tutor, housekeeper, personal care worker, house manager, home tailor, coffee maker, travel assistant, home farmer, private speech and hearing specialist, personal assistant, support worker, and house guard.
Musaned is the official channel through which employers in Saudi can hire full-time live-in domestic workers under their sponsorship.
Previously, such workers would have been recruited under the general category of ‘domestic worker.’ According to Article 2 of the Saudi Domestic Workers Law of 2013, employers are not permitted to assign domestic workers to perform tasks not specified in the contract or to work for third parties. However, it remains common for domestic workers to perform multiple duties that were not specified in the contract and to work for their sponsors’ relatives.
Formally distinguishing between different types of domestic work may help address this issue. However, these new categories and all domestic workers should be included in the labour law to better protect workers against exploitation.
According to Ministerial Decision No. 605 which governs the transfer of domestic workers' sponsorship, performing tasks not specified in the contract does not qualify as one of the conditions that allow domestic workers the right to change their sponsors without their consent.
The vulnerability of domestic workers due to lack of protections and inspection mechanisms in Saudi Arabia was highlighted in our previous report which documented large scale violations and abuse in the sector.
According to Saudi’s General Authority for Statistics, there were a total of 3,579,960 domestic workers in Saudi Arabia at the end of the third quarter of 2022.