Five states in the Middle East are discussing a common policy on hiring foreign maids. Advocacy group Migrants Rights has claimed that 90% of foreign domestic workers in the region are employed in Kuwait. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Five countries in the Middle East have begun to discuss setting up a common policy on the employment of foreign maids.

The move aims to prevent recruiters from charging exorbitant fees and minimize other problems linked to the employment of millions of foreign domestic workers from Southeast Asia and the Subcontinent.

At the 45th session of the Arab Labour Conference held from April 8 to 15, representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman agreed to set regulations on contracts, employment transfers and a minimum wage for foreign maids, The National reported.

Hind Al Sabeeh, Kuwait’s minister of social affairs and labor, said the common policy aims to prevent recruitment agencies from charging job-seekers and to employers excessive fees.

Currently, some domestic workers are charged over US$3,000 in their home countries in order get jobs in the Middle East.

Nasser Al Hamli, the UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the policy would have to fit in with various states which have policies to protect the rights of domestic workers.

“Domestic workers constitute an important part of the temporary employment [sector] in the Gulf countries, which are keen to protect their labor rights through applicable laws and practices,” Al Hamli said.

Al Hamli said the policy would also ensure that the employment process would be fair and transparent, for the safety of the domestic workers.

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