Call to reduce Qatar job recruitment agencies charges

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Doha: Amid complaints about the increasing cost of hiring domestic helps, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs has urged employers to be aware of their rights and the recruitment procedures.

Fares Al Kaabi, Head of the Department of Manpower Agencies at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs said that the ministry is encouraging manpower recruitment agencies to reduce the prices.

This is one of the aspects being taken into consideration while grading manpower agencies. Agencies that have helped stabilize the prices over the past four to five years, with a marginal increase of up to 10 percent have the chance of getting a higher rating, said Kaabi, talking in interactive discussion hosted by Qatar TV.

A number of issues concerning recruitment of domestic helps were raised in the program titled “Bisaraha” (Frankly Speaking) hosted by famous Qatari TV anchor Hassan Al Saai with Al Kaabi and Ali Afifa, member of Recruitment Companies’ Team at Qatar Chamber.

About 90 per cent of the participants in a survey conducted live during the program said that the cost of hiring domestic helps was “very high”

375 recruitment agencies in Qatar

“Every Qatari house has a minimum of three domestic helps as we talk about maids, nannies, drivers, cooks, guards and gardeners who are under the law No 14/2004 and the ministerial decision No8/2005,” said Al Kaabi.

There are 375 manpower recruitment agencies in Qatar, said Al Kaabi, emphasising that majority of the employers are signing the contracts with the agencies even without reading the contents.

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The contract grants the employer the right to specify duration of recruitment, specifications, salary and violations of the contract. The employer is entitled for a refund of all the expenses from the agents within the first three months of recruitment, in case he wants to return the employee.

After the three months of guarantee under the ministry, the parties need to refer the case to other competent authorities including the Ministry of Interior, said Al Kaabi.

The law has stipulated three months of guarantee during which the employer can return the domestic worker if he/she did not meet the specifications mentioned in the contract, found unfit, did not pass security screening or refused to handle the given job.

Al Kaabi said that some employers return the worker to the hiring agency within the three months period and take back their money without informing the ministry and this prompts the agency to find another job for the maid.

Regarding hiring charges, Afifa said that there is no fixed price, and foreign hiring agencies impose the prices they want depending on the demands they get from different counties and nationalities but Qatar remains the best in terms of charges compared to the neighboring counties.

Recruitment fees range from QR 8000 to QR16,000 depending on the nationalities.

The profit margin of the agents range from 20 to 25 percent ,said Afifa, adding that any reduction in prices is deducted from this margin because they cannot impose prices on the foreign offices.

The public reaction on the topic varied, with some saying recruiting charges have reached a record (QR18,000 to 22,000) for some nationalities. One of the participants suggested that the hiring offices bring the domestic helps to Qatar and then the employers hire them from the local agencies.[thepeninsula]

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