DT: Families in Bahrain are increasingly seeking illegal means to hire maids after the unexpected rise in charges of official recruitment agencies.
After complete and partial ban of domestic workers from certain countries during the recent unrest, recruitment agencies hiked their fees to around BD700 for maids from subcontinent states and around BD1,000 for Filipino and Indonesian maids.
“I know it is risky to seek maids from unofficial recruitment agencies, but that way I just have to pay BD350, which is less than half of what will cost me if I will go to a proper agency,” Bahraini Ghanim Mohammed said. He knows that the full payment he gave to an Indian man could be lost forever if he turns to be a fraud, but he is trying his luck, as his family needs this maid and cannot pay a hefty amount.
The official recruitment agencies, on the other hand, say that the hike is the only option they have to protect their businesses.
Head of Al Hubail Recruitment Agency Abas Al Basri said the profit of agencies from supplying each maid is much less than before, as most of the amount goes for finalising paperwork.
“I know that many families are seeking illegal ways to hire maids as fewer people are coming to my agency, but I cannot do anything to attract them, as all my paperwork is legal,” he said. “Thankfully, some Bahrainis are still keen to come to us to avoid unnecessary hassle.”
A free-visa Indian maid Lakshmi who additionally brings maids from her hometown denied hassling her clients. “I have been in this business for years and have brought many maids directly from India for an average of BD300 each,” she said, highlighting that she succeeded in her business, as she isn’t greedy. “I’m honest, so I guarantee my clients to return their money if I fail to bring their maids, while I replace unfit maids with fit ones without charging extra,” she added.
Bahrain has a high demand for maids, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour Subah Al Dossari said.
“A total of 16,203 visa applications for domestic workers were submitted from April to June, in which 13,709 were approved and more than 2,000 were rejected,” he said.