Saudi Arabia Opens Foreign Investment for Domestic Workers Recruitment Agencies

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The Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development said on Friday foreign investors are allowed to set up domestic workers’ recruitment agencies in Saudi Arabia.

The move aims to raise competitiveness level in the recruitment sector, offer wide-ranging options that fit customers, develop the sector through benefiting from international experiences and improve services provided to end-consumer, the ministry said.

Many Saudis in the low- and middle-income groups believe employing house help (housemaids, drivers etc.) is no longer affordable to them due to high recruitment costs and difficult visa conditions.

Recruitment companies charge fees ranging from SR14,000 to SR20,000 although the ministry has fixed recruitment fee at SR10,000.

During the last three years, 3.18 million visas were issued for domestic workers, 35 percent of which were issued for Filipinos and Indians, Aleqtesadiyah newspaper reported in August 2017.

According to the ministry, the foreign recruitment agency must have not less than a three-year experience in the field of hiring and recruiting domestic workers, as well as having a website that showcases its full details, report local daily

The cost of recruiting domestic workers in Saudi Arabia has increased in the past few years as it became one of the most dynamic business activities. This pushed SAGIA and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to take the decision to allow foreign investment and increase the level of competitiveness, report Asharq Al-Awsat.

SAGIA has now eased the process to issue licenses. Now investment licenses can be issued in less than four hours. Earlier the procedures used to take 53 hours. Earlier, eight documents were required to get an investment license, but now only two documents are required. These two documents are financial statements and commercial registers attested by Saudi embassy where the company seeking investment license is located.

The Kingdom has been opening more sectors to foreign investments to get ready for the post-oil era and empowerment of its economy through various reform plans.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia is now considered one of the world’s most attractive countries for global investment. Many investors also have confidence in the kingdom’s dynamic and prosperous economy, which recently witnessed the announcement of the largest state budget in the history of Saudi Arabia in 2018, it said.

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