Saudi legal support for citizens abroad

Allegations against Saudis abroad included paying their housekeepers and drivers below the minimum wage in Europe and U.S.

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Saudi diplomatic missions have assigned lawyers to defend Saudis accused of mistreating their housekeepers and drivers while they are abroad.

A government circular seen by Al-Yaum newspaper said such accusations included not providing employees with medical insurance or weekly days off and asking them to work long hours.

Allegations against Saudi sponsors abroad also included paying their housekeepers and drivers less than the minimum wage in Europe and America.

The circular asked Saudi embassies and consulates to appoint legal offices to appear before courts to get cases against Saudis accused of maltreating their housekeepers and drivers dropped.

Deputy chairman of the committee of lawyers at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ali Al-Suwailam asked Saudis taking their housekeepers with them abroad to pay them their monthly salaries regularly and document the payments.

He said: “Saudis should cover their housekeepers and drivers with medical insurance and have evidence that they are not being asked to work long hours.

“Without these documents it may not be easy for embassies to defend them,” the official said.

Al-Suwailam said drivers and housekeepers tend to sue their sponsors when they are about to go back home.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, such cases are only few and mainly arise in the United States and other countries that usually grant residence status to people who claim to be victims of oppression and maltreatment.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 16, 2013

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