Thursday 18 December 2008 (20 Dhul Hijjah 1429)
NCR seeks to suspend visas for Indonesia
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,"
"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