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Ethiopia eyes legal domestic worker scheme with Saudi Arabia

Staff Writer |
A draft bill to ratify an agreement on establishing legalized domestic employment scheme with Saudi Arabia was tabled to the Ethiopian House of People's Representatives (HoPR).

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The agreement, which was signed between the two governments on May 25 in Jeddah, mainly aimed to recruit Ethiopian domestic workers to Saudi Arabia.

The bill, which is yet to be ratified by the HoPR, Ethiopian parliament's lower house, came shortly after Saudi Arabia's recent move to extradite undocumented migrants.

Saudi Arabia in February revealed that it had arrested some 671,200 foreign workers in four months in a major crackdown on illegal laborers, in which Ethiopian illegal settlers were said to represent close to 32 percent, next to nationals of Yemen at 65 percent.

According to the latest agreement signed by the two countries, the Ethiopian government will send qualified domestic workers and ensure that they have no criminal record.

The draft bill that was tabled to the HoPR on Tuesday also indicated that the two governments should "work together in a mutually acceptable recruitment system for Ethiopian domestic system in Saudi Arabia pursuant to the applicable laws, rules and regulations of both countries."

The bill, in order to avoid the suffering of Ethiopians' who travelled to Saudi Arabia via illegal routes with the help of human traffickers, called on the two governments to ensure the recruitment of Ethiopian domestic workers through recruitment agencies or companies.

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