Manama: A Saudi justice ministry official said that 16 Saudi nationals took Ethiopian spouses last year.
“We recorded 14 marriages between Saudi men and Ethiopian women and two marriages between Saudi women and Ethiopian men,” the official said, local Arabic daily Al Sharq reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia has been following a strict policy of encouraging marriages between Saudi nationals.
Under the local law, Saudi nationals need to have their marriage proposals formally endorsed to be recorded in the official register.
“Conditions include that the Saudi man be at least 35 years old and less than 70 years old,” Faisal Ahmad Al Othman, the Eastern Province undersecretary, said. “A married Saudi man must prove medically that his wife has a medical condition, sterility or deformity and must present a salary certificate in order to get the approval.”
Men who do not abide by the law are investigated by the interior ministry, he added.
News of the Saudi-Ethiopian marriages are a ray of hope after the nationals of the African country have come under negative spotlight in Saudi Arabia in recent months following the publication of reports accusing them of domestic violence against children.
The gruesome death of one child allegedly by the Ethiopian domestic helper caused deep concern and several voices have called for a ban on the recruiting of Ethiopian workers.
Saudi Arabia is home to around nine million foreigners who make up one-third of the total population.