Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Egyptian Labour Minister has stated that Egyptian citizens will not be sent to Saudi Arabia to work as housemaids.
The statement was made by Egyptian Labour Minister Aisha Abdel Hadi after a meeting with Abdul Wahid al Humaid, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Labour, on Saturday, to discuss some joint issues between Riyadh and Cairo.
Following the meeting, Aisha Abdel Hadi said, “We discussed some labour-related issues and they are all in the process of being solved because there are bound to be minor arguments in any field that involves work relationships.”
The Egyptian labour force in Saudi Arabia is made up of one million workers and is the fourth largest expatriate community. The Saudi Deputy Minister of Labour stated that in 2008, Egyptians were issued the second largest number of Saudi entry visas.
The Egyptian Labour Minister denied that there were any matters of dispute between the Egyptian officials and their Saudi counterparts with regards to the Egyptian labour force in Saudi Arabia.
“We are still negotiating, and we do not feel that our nationals who work here live in a country that is strange to them. There are no disputes between us and the Saudis; but there are [small] issues. Maybe a case of misunderstanding or miscommunication by one party at work might cause a worker to complain, however the number of complaints is not very high, and they are being discussed in a friendly environment,” the Egyptian Minister said at a press conference following her meeting with Saudi officials. Aisha Abdel Hadi also stated that these complaints are not specific to one profession but to various sectors.
The Egyptian minister has put an end to rumours about whether or not Egyptians would be sent to Saudi Arabia to work as housemaids. She stated that “We will not send our women to be housemaids due to social and cultural concerns.”
Dr. Abdul Wahid al Humaid, the Saudi Deputy Labour Minister held a meeting with the Egyptian Labour Minister, Aisha Abdel Hadi, and a labour delegation. A press release issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labour said, “Aspects of mutual cooperation between the two countries in the area of labour and workers were discussed.”
The Saudi Deputy Labour Minister indicated that the Egyptian workers’ issues are “normal ones and none of them are unusual for the labour market.”
During a meeting with representatives of the Egyptian community in Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian Labour Minister maintained that Egypt is capable of overcoming the global financial crisis despite a 10 percent decrease in foreign remittances made by Egyptian workers abroad. She concluded with a warning to those practicing illegal visa trading.