The age of Indian maids looking for employment in Saudi Arabia has been set between 25 and 50 years under a new employment agreement finalised by the two countries to guarantee protection of domestic workers.
India had first stipulated the maids must be at least 40 years old before the two countries reached a compromise setting that age in line with an agreement that will guarantee protection for the domestic workers from the subcontinent, Emirates 24/7 reported.
"Earlier there was no age limit set for the maids coming from Indian," an official with the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia told PTI over phone.
"Our agreement with India sets the age of the domestic workers coming to the Kingdom at between 25 and 50 years. If an Indian maid aged 25 agrees to come to Saudi Arabia, the Indian government will not prevent her," said Ahmed Al Faheed, Saudi labour ministry undersecretary for international affairs.
He said Indian maids would be given a crash course in each of the subcontinent's states in India before they are sent to Saudi Arabia.
"Training will be provided by labour agencies in India, but Saudi labour agencies are planning to set up offices there to supervise procedures for the recruitment of maids in Saudi Arabia, including visa, travel, training and other issues," Faheed said.
"It will also ensure that the maids should be given adequate housing and should not be manipulated by their employers. At the same time, the agreement includes stringent penalties for recruitment offices which violate the rules and try to cheat the domestic workers," he said.
He also said that the new policy will ensure that the maids should be given adequate housing and should not be manipulated by their employers.
At the same time, the agreement includes stringent penalties for recruitment offices which violate the rules and try to cheat the domestic workers, he said.
More than 1.5 million housemaids from the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other Asian and African nations work in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the world's dominant oil exporter.
Saudi Arabia has been under fire from local and foreign human rights groups over the death of some housemaids, who have been reportedly killed by their employers. Pressure mounted in late 2010 following news that an Indonesian housemaid was severely tortured by its female employer.
Saudi Arabia and India maintain strong political, economic and trade links, with their bilateral commercial exchange reaching nearly USD 44 billion during 2012-2013.