Ethiopians denied entry to Saudi
Saudi authorities banned on Wednesday Ethiopian workers from entering the country, justifying the move following reports of crimes against children committed by maids from the African nation.
The labor ministry and the interior ministry have agreed to "temporarily" stop the importation of workers from Ethiopia, the SPA state news agency said.
It said the ban will remain in place until the completion of investigations into "recent incidents," in reference to crimes reported in local media.
Several media outlets have reported instances of children being allegedly killed by Ethiopian domestic workers, including two cases in the capital.
In January, a Sri Lankan maid was beheaded in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of having killed her employer’s child, although she had retracted a confession she said was made under duress.
The oil-rich kingdom, which hosts some eight million foreign workers, mostly from South Asian nations, has been heavily cracking down on immigrants this year.
Several hundred thousand foreigners have been deported in an effort by the labor ministry to create jobs for millions of unemployed Saudis.
Under Saudi law, foreigners are only allowed to work for their official sponsor. The sponsorship system is prevalent throughout the Middle East and often leaves migrant workers vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their employers.
Saudi Arabia recently introduced new rules regarding domestic workers’ right, but it also urged workers to respect Islam, the religion of the ultra-conservative kingdom, and to "obey" employers.