Greater demand for domestic helpers in Qatar pits employers against recruiters

August 12, 2010
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Greater demand for domestic helpers in Qatar has pitted employers against recruiters who are asking for higher commission, a local daily said.

As more people are using the services of domestic helpers due to increased per capita income and fast-changing lifestyles, the cost of recruiting them has gone up to around QR7,000, almost double of what it was a few years ago, The Peninsula reported on Thursday.

Manpower agencies attribute the hike in hiring costs to additional fees being levied by authorities in the helpers’ home countries, and refer to insurance premiums as new costs added to recruitment overheads. They say that domestic helpers have to be insured before they are allowed to leave their home country and that the premium is to be paid by overseas employers.

However, Qatari and expatriate families seeking to hire domestic helpers charge that manpower agencies hike the rates to take undue advantage of the growing demand.

The families point to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries where the rates have remained stable to refute the argument that hiring costs have gone up due to extra fees being charged in the countries that export domestic helpers.

Market sources say that domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia, particularly, carry a premium as most families in Qatar prefer them to women from other countries since they are trained in household chores and can handle modern home equipment.

Manpower agencies, on their part, argue that countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Syria have recently begun competing with the GCC states in attracting helpers.

These agencies say since salaries and working conditions in these countries are better, helpers prefer to go there.

Manpower agencies also insist that a law should be passed to regulate the employment of helpers. In the absence of such a law, agencies have to bear the costs if a helper runs away from a family within three months of employment.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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