Why are Sri Lankan Housemaids the most expensive to hire?

Domestic help or house maids are a common occurrence in the Kingdom. They can be found in nearly all families that can legally afford to hire an expatriate house maid. These house maids ensure the smooth running of the day to day activities of the family and also allow the mother or wife to relax and focus more of her time towards her husband and children. Previously this process was relatively simple, those who wished for extra help around the house would simply hire any expatriate willing to work in their homes, however nowadays with the concern of terrorism, safety and security as well as the issue of not documented residents in the Kingdom, a lot of failsafe measures have been put in place to ensure that all domestic servants or housemaids are properly documented and the documents are available to the government authorities.[irp]

Over time these house maids and the services that provide them have become familiar with the high dependency that some families have on these housemaids in their day to day running of their households and have subsequently increased the prices for the overall procedure to hire a housemaid. The cost of hiring a housemaid from Sri Lanka has crossed the SAR 23,000 per visa during the last five months. Subsequently, this new move has placed the Sri Lankan house maids amongst the highest labor exporting countries. The story was reported by the Makkah daily and was quoting sources from the market.

Yahya Al Maqbool, Chairman of the JCCI or Jeddah Chambers of Commerce and Industry stated that the cost of recruitment of Sri Lankans has gone higher than that of the Philippines which would be SAR 19,000 for every work visa. Labor costs from countries such as Bangladesh, Egypt and Sudan are decreasing at the same time, dropping to SAR 3000 – 7000. Maqbool has attributed major cost differences to the distance geographically between the different countries and also the different air fare prices and complicated contractual procedures. Repeating my earlier stance, he added that the service providers are exploiting the high demand for domestic workers in the houses and hence increasing the prices.

Maqbool also added that it is almost impossible to control the cost of recruitment due to every service provider or broker having their own prices. An extra cost has been imposed on the offices in order to increase their prices to compensate for any unforeseen circumstances. He additionally stated that any hurdles put in the recruitment of housemaids by other countries also drive up the prices.[irp]

When the service providers in exporting countries notice that the offices are facing problems, their charges are immediately increased by $500. Prior to Sri Lanka taking the top spot, it used to be the Philippines at the top spot. This ultimately does not mean that Sri Lankan housemaids are in excessive demand, however, their prices have risen due to obstacles and barriers set by the home country i.e. Sri Lanka.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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