KUWAIT: Prices of domestic laborers have soared due to the increased demand of Saudi nationals for maids from Kuwaiti offices, according to the Saudi daily Al-Watan. As many maids refuse to go to work in the Saudi Arabia, the only way to attract them is with higher salaries. Their focus is on Filipina and Indonesian maids, as these were banned from going from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia to work. The charges to import a maid has increased in Saudi Arabia, and become more expensive compared to recruiting a maid in Kuwait.
Domestic labor offices in Kuwait have different prices for maids, not only for different nationalities but even for maids of the same nationality. Earlier this year, the cost of maids hiked to very high prices. They are not affordable for many people, especially expatriates. For many people a maid is essential and they agree to pay this high price to get a maid.
It seems that some offices have increased their prices again, as the cost of some maids has reached KD 850, not including the visa or salary. "Our office only has Filipina minds available, and their price is KD 850," Husain from the Jasim Kamal office told the Kuwait Times. "We didn't increase the price recently, this is our price since this year. Our office does not export maids outside Kuwait, so we do not have any Saudi clients taking the maids abroad to increase our prices," he said.
An employee of Fawziya Al-Mutatih Office agreed that they do not give a maid to clients who are not living in Kuwait. "We only provide maids to Kuwaiti citizens or any other nationalities on condition that they live in Kuwait. We cannot risk letting them leave Kuwait, as we do not know what problems may happen to them abroad and we will not be able to help them. In case that the client takes her outside Kuwait without telling us it is his responsibility. At the end he is her sponsor," he said.
The price of the maids is not unified in all domestic labor agencies. The price depends on the nationality of the maid and whether the maid is returned or brought from abroad. A Filipina maid is most expensive comparing to other nationalities. The Ethiopian maid is the cheapest. Indonesian maids are not available from agents now as their government banned them from coming to work here as domestic helpers.
Some offices do not mind providing maids to work in Saudi Arabia. "The maids are those who refuse going to KSA. We had a few clients who came to our office or called us, but the maids refused the offer. I do not mind giving a maid to a Saudi client who will take her to work there if she agrees. Our price is KD 650 for the Filipina maid. I expect that the price may decrease, and will not increase more than the current price," stated Khalid from Saffiya Al-Ruwayih Office.
An employee of Mohammed Al-Sairafi office stressed that their office has previously provided maids to Saudi clients who took them abroad. "We don't mind if somebody takes the maid to work abroad, but the problem is with the maids as they usually refuse to go there. We only have Ethiopian maids available. The cost is KD 300 for a Muslim maid, and KD 270 for a Christian. Her salary is KD 52. In this case it is easier to take a returned maid as she can be asked while already here in Kuwait, rather than waitin g for a response and arrival that takes a month or more," he pointed out.