Saudi Arabia resumes recruitment of domestic workers from Ethiopia
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) recently announced that it has resumed the official recruitment of domestic workers from Ethiopia after a hiatus of more than three years.
According to the MHRSD, Ethiopian domestic workers can now be recruited through the Musaned platform, with recruitment fees capped at SR 6,900 (US$ 1,837), excluding VAT.
The move comes after the Saudi government’s heightened efforts to increase the supply of domestic workers and reduce recruitment costs.
Saudi Arabia is one of the main destination countries for Ethiopian workers, who arrive both via regular and irregular routes. Both governments have previously imposed recruitment bans on domestic workers for different reasons.
In 2019, Saudi and Ethiopian counterparts initiated negotiations for a new agreement on domestic worker recruitment. However, the agreement faced several hurdles as the countries disagreed on contract obligations, minimum wages, and working conditions. The negotiations came to a full halt in December 2019, when the MHRSD stopped issuing domestic visas for Ethiopians and removed Ethiopian domestic workers from the Musaned portal.
It is unclear whether these disagreements have now been resolved. As MR previously reported, Saudi Arabia has done little to safeguard domestic workers' rights; instead, it has used its leverage as a major country of employment to lead a race to the bottom with sending countries.
For more on Saudi Arabia’s recent initiatives regarding domestic workers’ recruitment, see our previous reporting here.