The Ministry of Commerce warned the domestic labor offices against manipulating the prices of recruiting workers from abroad, and demanded that the offices abide by the recruitment pricing set by the Ministry.

These sources told a local Arabic daily if any office is found manipulating the price, the owners will be referred to the Public Prosecution officer and the office will be administratively closed. The sources added, for this a team comprising members from the ministry and the Public Authority for Manpower has been formed.

This comes at a time when the owners of offices for the recruitment of domestic workers confirmed their commitment to the decision of the Ministry of Commerce, which has determined the value of fixed contracts for these workers from abroad at 890 dinars.

Owners of domestic labor recruitment offices who spoke to the daily talked of the possible return to new contracts after the blessed Eid Al-Fitr holiday saying it will contribute to a decline in new contracts, especially in light of the widespread demand for domestic helpers of all nationalities and types.

Regarding the value of the fixed contracts decided by the Ministry of Commerce at 890 dinars, they indicated that it is modest and not enough to achieve a profit margin, especially since the value of one contract from the Philippines, which is the most favored, ranges between 2,400 and 3,100 dollars (equivalent to 734 and 950 dinars) — ticket price not included.

The office owners attributed the change in the price of contracts to labor recruiting agencies from the Philippines or India, where the price changes according to the nature of the experience the worker enjoys and other advantages. They stated that setting the value of the new contracts at 1250 dinars, including travel tickets and services, would be appropriate for all offices, especially those working with Filipino labor agencies, while the previous prices could be good enough Indian or African contracts, which range between 750 and 900 dinars.

According to issued by the Ministry of Interior and the Public Authority for Manpower the total number of new contracts for domestic workers is 26,000, compared to the cancellation of approximately 4,500 residence permits annually. The Corona pandemic played a significant impact on the domestic labor market, as the percentage of annual contracts decreased to 30% of the total new contracts, especially during the past two years 2020 and 2021, during which 14.1 thousand workers entered the country compared to 52 thousand new contracts in 2018 and 2019.

By comparing the number of domestic workers in the period before and after the pandemic, their numbers in 2019 was about 731 thousand which gradually decreased until the end of last year to approximately 591,000, a decrease rate of 140,000 workers. Female employment constitutes the largest proportion of domestic labor contracts in the country, reaching 50.1% of the total employment holding residence in accordance with Article 20.

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