Saudi woman, three residents arrested for luring domestic workers

Abu Dhabi: The Riyadh Police has arrested a Saudi woman, a Sri Lankan woman, and two men of Indian and Pakistani nationalities, aged between 30 and 40, for allegedly luring domestic workers from households for the promise of higher wages, local media reported.

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The four allegedly made the workers left their jobs, housed them in two residential units in the east and west of Riyadh, and deployed them to other employers in return for money they charge.

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Eight workers of different nationalities, found absent from work, were referred to the authorities after they reportedly admitted to have been lured and deployed by the by the accused.

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All legal measures were taken against the accused, who were referred to the Public Prosecution, pending further questioning and trial, police said.

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Saudi labour reforms, drastically revamping the country’s sponsorship system, do not apply to domestic workers including chauffeurs, gardeners and home guards, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

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In November, the ministry launched major labour reforms, allowing job mobility and regulating the exit and re-entry visa issuance for expatriate workers without employers’ approval.

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Expat workers

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Millions of migrant workers stand to benefit from the reforms, which will come into effect on March 14, 2021. The ministry said the initiative applies to all expatriate workers in the private sector and features specific control measures protecting rights of employees and employers.

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Employee mobility will allow expatriate workers to transfer between employers upon the expiry of the binding work contract without the employer’s consent. The exit and re-entry visa reforms will allow expatriate workers to travel outside Saudi Arabia without the employers’ approval after submitting a request, the ministry explained.

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The final exit visa reforms will allow the foreign worker to leave the kingdom after the end of the employment contract without the consent of the employer, who will be electronically notified. The worker will bear all consequences for breaking the contract.

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The ministry said that the reforms were aimed to increase flexibility, effectiveness and competitiveness of the labour market in the kingdom.

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Foreigners make up around 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 34.8 million.

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