RIYADH — There has been a significant increase in the number of domestic workers during the past five years, reaching 1.19 million.

The total number of male and female domestic workers in Saudi Arabia stood at around 3.6 million, according to a monitoring by Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

The total number of domestic workers, who entered the Saudi labor market during the past five years from 2018 to 2022 accounted for about 1.19 million, equivalent to about 33.02 percent of the total number of workers, who are classified as domestic workers.

According to the monitoring, the number of male house workers who joined the labor market during the last five years stood at about 957,000 workers, bringing the total percentage of those joining the labor market during that period to about 36.38 percent of the total male workers that reached 2.63 million while the number of working women reached about 233,000, which is equivalent to 23.94 percent of the total working women, whose current figures stood at 972,000.

Drivers accounted for the highest share of the number of house workers, and their number accounted for 1.78 million male drivers and 119 female drivers. Servants and house cleaners came second with 1.73 million while the number of male and female cooks reached more than 61000. The number of guards and workers of houses and restrooms reached more than 16,000, of whom there are only 13 women. The rest of the workers included private teachers, nannies at home, house managers, home farmers, home health nurses, and home tailors.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) had announced the implementation of the second phase of the decision of the Council of Ministers to selectively impose a levy on domestic workers from May 11. As per the Cabinet decision, Saudi employers would have to pay an annual fee of SR9600 for each house worker if their number exceeds four while expatriate employers will pay the same amount for each worker in excess of two.

The ministry started applying the first phase of the Cabinet decision to selectively impose an annual levy, amounting to SR9600, on domestic workers from May 22, 2022. The ministry stated that the first phase was applicable to only new house workers, who were recruited during the first year after issuance of the Cabinet decision, while the second phase would be applicable for both new and existing domestic workers in excess of the exempted number.

According to the decision, taken by the Cabinet on March 8, 2022, a Saudi employer needs to pay the annual fee if he hires a fifth domestic worker while the expatriate employer will pay the same fee in the event of hiring a third worker. The fee will be applicable for every additional worker hired by the same employer.

However, there will be an exemption on humanitarian grounds. Workers hired to give medical care to a family member or to take care of people with special needs will be exempted from the payment in accordance with certain terms and conditions formulated by the committee constituted for that purpose.


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