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The word ‘maid’ is banned in Saudi Arabian job adverts, as it belittles the job

In Saudi Arabia the word “maid” has banned, as it belittles the job, under new ordinances aimed to support the rights of foreign workers in ads for new jobs and in the recruitment method.

The words such as ” servant” and “maid” should not be used in job adverts and instead advertise for “workers”, said The Saudi Ministry of Commerce.

The new instructions also specify that workers will not have to carry any financial costs “under any circumstances” for revisions of work permits or similar paperwork exchanges. Such changes can only be made with the workers’ approval and employers cannot refer to such fees in job advertisements.

Ads should not publish any personal photos, identity card copies, residency permit or any other personal data.
The country is home to 10 million foreign workers, including 3.7 million residential workers, and has taken steps in recent years to raise employment stability and prevent exploitation.

Saudis and emigrants living in the country praised the changes.

Zainab Yusuf, a photographer from the Philippines who lives in Jeddah, reported to The National that she was pleasingly amazed by the news.

“In today’s age, we cannot have room for racism and discrimination,” Ms Yusuf said.

“We cannot raise our children to believe those who work in our homes are lesser than us by using terms like ‘khadama’ [female servant] in Arabic.

“It is time to change our mindset and this can be done by changing our vocabulary and actions.”

“Give everyone dignity of labour. Domestic workers or CEOs, we are one and the same.”

Parents also greeted the news, telling that such values must be inculcated in children from a very young age.

“I am so surprised to hear this because I have raised my kids the same way,” said Madiha Khan, an Indian living in Dhahran. “We have always called them helpers, not maids.

“I think it’s important for the society to reflect and encourage good manners and respect every member of society, although I believe the disparity is much greater in India.

“I wish we could have such laws back home that would teach society how to treat people regardless of status.”

Amal Zahrani, a Saudi artist in Jeddah, announced it was the best way to show due respect to people who travel thousands of miles from home to work in the kingdom.

“I think this was much-needed,” Ms Zahrani said. “They are human and need to be recognised.

“Thousands of domestic workers leave their families and children to come work for Saudis and it is not easy on them. It is their right to be respected and loved.

“They play a huge role in households and helping us sustain them. Our helper is my child’s second mother and he proudly says it.

“She is part of our family and it would be wrong to think of her as anything less.”

Following March 14, emigrants no longer need their employers’ permission to change jobs, travel or leave Saudi Arabia, as part of the National Transformation Programme under Vision 2030.


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