Cairo: Qataris have complained about hikes in fees for employing foreign domestic helpers, blaming disruptions resulting from coronavirus-related restrictions for the problem.
They said that fees for hiring domestic helpers have soared to 4,500 Qatari riyals per month. In addition to the hiring fees, sponsors now have to bear all other expenses such as those of quarantine on arrival costing 2,400 to 4,000 riyals depending on the isolation place as well as travel tickets.
Amir Al Bakir, a sponsor, told the Qatari newspaper Al Sharq that he had contracted the recruitment of two domestic helpers earlier last year, but their arrival has been hampered by shutdowns of airports due to the pandemic. “The fees were lower before the corona as I paid 11,000 riyals each for employing two Filipinas. Now I’m required by the owner of the recruitment office to pay costs of their quarantine although the contracts for hiring them were signed before the pandemic,” he said.
Qatari families, he added, badly need domestic helpers. “Some families want to get replacements. Other families already have helpers whose contracts have expired or who wish to go on holiday in their home countries,” Al Bakir said.
In opinion of Jasim Al Hamdi, a Qatari citizen, the problem lies with the recruitment offices which he accuses of hiking up fees. He said that the overall cost of employing a Filipina housemaid now stands at 20,000 riyals against 12,000 per COVID-19.
“The sponsor now bears all fees and other expenses such as the quarantine cost,” Al Hamdi said.
“The main reason is that demand surpasses supply, especially after recruitment offices stopped work for several months,” he said.
Defending recruitment offices, Mohanad Abeed, a manager of a recruitment bureau in Doha argued that hiring fees in Qatar are still lower than other Gulf countries. “The increase in fees is due to the precautionary measures against the coronavirus and the quarantine costs,” he said.
Abeed proposes that the foreign housemaid be tested for COVID-19 upon her arrival at the airport and quarantined at the sponsor’ house annex, thus facilitating procedures and cutting fees.