Thursday 18 December 2008 (20 Dhul Hijjah 1429)

      NCR seeks to suspend visas for Indonesia
      Arab News 
      RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's National Committee for Recruitment (NCR) has 
called on the government to stop issuing visas to Indonesian workers after the 
Indonesian Labor Federation called on recruitment agencies in that country to 
ignore labor regulations implemented recently in the Kingdom.

      "The government should suspend recruitment of Indonesian workers until 
differences between the two sides over the new regulations are settled," said 
Saad Al-Baddah, chairman of the NCR, an affiliate of the Council of Saudi 
Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

      The new regulations - entitled "The Unified Labor Contract" - seek to 
unify rules for bringing domestic workers to the Kingdom and protect the rights 
of Saudi employers and expatriate workers. The regulations were issued with the 
approval of the Ministry of Interior.

      The contract stipulates that labor recruitment agencies sign with the NCR 
contracts that define the rights of both employers and employees, such as 
salaries, working hours and vacations.

      While most labor-supplying countries agreed to implement the new 
regulations early this year, the NCR had been negotiating the issue with the 
Indonesian authorities, Baddah said.

      "The conduct of the Indonesian Labor Federation will, obviously, trigger 
a new crisis in recruiting workers from that country. The Indonesian 
authorities are supposed to implement the contract beginning 2009," he added.

      "It seems that the silence of the Saudi authorities on unilateral 
decisions taken by the Indonesians on issues, such as raising workers' salaries 
and recruitment fees, over the past couple of years has encouraged Indonesia to 
reject the Unified Labor Contract with scant regard for Saudi interests," 
Baddah said.

      "All countries that supply domestic labor to Saudi Arabia have approved 
the new contract and are abiding by it. On the other hand, the Indonesians have 
not approved it. Labor recruitment agencies in Indonesia want to dictate their 
terms and do not care for our interests. This is not right," he added.

      Baddah called on the authorities to find out why Indonesia is refusing to 
sign the contract. He also called on recruitment agencies in the Kingdom not to 
accept visas for Indonesian workers from next month unless there is a positive 
response from the Indonesian authorities

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