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Saudi Arabia will begin hiring more domestic workers from India in two weeks after finalising recruitment procedures, according to local daily Arab News.
The announcement follows a labour deal between Saudi Arabia and India, which will better protect the rights of Indian domestic workers in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of labour Adel Fakieh and India’s minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, signed the Agreement on Labor Cooperation for Domestic Service Workers Recruitment in New Delhi last week.
According to the new agreement, all domestic workers should be given a standard employment contract which requires the employer to provide minimum wages, working hours and paid holidays.
Fakeih said that the agreement contains several provisions to ensure the authenticity of the employment contract and will also have a mechanism to prevent cheating by middlemen, according to Saudi Press Agency.
The minister said that the deal will establish a mechanism to provide 24-hour assistance to domestic workers.
The agreement will also take measures against recruitment agencies, which are found to be violating laws, officials said.
Currently there are around 2.8 million Indian workers in the Kingdom, making it the largest expatriate community.
“This (the agreement) would go a long way in protecting the interests of Indian workers,” said Ravi.
He also thanked the Saudi minister for “adopting a humanitarian approach” while implementing the Nitaqat work policy.
Ravi added that the domestic workers protection agreement would help streamline the labour market.
“This important agreement is the result of the excellent relations between the two countries,” Fakieh said.
He said that the two sides have also agreed to set up a joint committee of senior officials that would meet periodically and alternatively in each others’ countries in case of any possible difficulties.
Saudi Arabia signed a domestic workers agreement with the Philippines last year and is looking to ink similar deals with Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam, according to officials.