Employment of runaway domestic servants is a crime

newsimageSAUDI authorities continue to exert painstaking efforts to prevent the employment of runaway domestic servants and punish the violators and anyone who takes advantage of the servants for illegal purposes. Frequently, the authorities want the general public not to hire runaway domestic servants whose services are promoted over the social media websites, Al-Riyadh daily reported. Runaway domestic servants such as housemaids live in most of the densely-populated shanty neighborhoods, south of Riyadh. For example, Al-Jaradiyah neighborhood, southwest of Riyadh, has a lot of runaway expatriate workers who can be seen walking on streets searching for random jobs. Runaway housemaids, from different nationalities like Ethiopia, Senegal etc., can be found here too. They usually charge SR30 an hour and SR1,700 a month and do not have any ID documents. Al-Shemaisi neighborhood and Al-Sebala neighborhood, both located southwest of Riyadh, are also full of expatriate workers and domestic servants who have run away from work and do not have any IDs. Some housemaids charge as much as SR2,200 a month. The old Umm Al-Hammam neighborhood, northwest Riyadh, too has a lot of expatriate workers who have run away from their sponsors. In fact, some of the expatriate workers, who work legally for their sponsors, also work as brokers who can provide illegal runaway housemaids for a certain commission. Different dangers Saad Al-Baddah, CEO of Saudi Recruitment Company, urged all Saudis to think twice before hiring a runaway driver or housemaid because this action can lead to harsh legal consequences. “Saudis should know that most of the runaway expatriate workers end up being run by gangs. It is extremely dangerous to hire a runaway housemaid and bring her into your home. In fact, some of them suffer from dangerous diseases and have not had regular medical checkups." "Besides, most of them tend to steal stuff like money and jewelry from the place they work in. Next time a Saudi wants to hire one of these runaway housemaids, he or she needs to think twice because there will be severe legal consequences if the housemaid dies suddenly inside the house. The Ministry of Labor takes these violations very seriously and imposes harsh penalties on anyone who hires those housemaid,” he explained. He called upon Saudis who use the services of runaway domestics to stop engaging in this practice and play a more active role as citizens. Instead, they should report runaway housemaids to authorities. He said it is the embassy, which should pay the travel ticket expenses for the runaway housemaid, not the Saudi family. Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, spokesman for Passport Directorate, stresses that passport officers are no longer responsible for tracking down illegal expatriate workers. All violators of the residency permit regulations will be referred to pertinent investigation units within the Directorate and the back again to specialized administrative committees for more investigations. It is these committees which decide if a person is guilty or not of violating the residency regulations. If guilty, the violator will be referred to the Deportation Unit where his fingerprints will be taken before being deported to his country. Mishal Al-Rebai’an, Ministry of Health spokesman, emphasized that government-run hospitals only admit housemaids who have a legal residency status and legal ID documents, noting that life-saving cases are an exception.