Saudi Arabia has set a minimum wage of SAR600-800 (US$160-213) for foreign domestic workers in the Gulf state.
Officials in the GCC’s largest country set the cost of recruitment fees at SAR15,000 - 17,000, local media reported citing Saad Al-Badah, chairman of the national recruitment committee at the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Recruitment fees will be inclusive of visa costs, two-year medical insurance, a one-way ticket, residence permit fees for two years and a medical checkup, said Al-Badah, adding that he expected the move to reduce the number of runaway cases amongst domestic workers by 80 percent.
Saudi Arabia, like much of the Gulf region, depends on foreign workers to fill jobs at all levels of the economy. The Gulf state is home to around 8m foreign workers.
The kingdom stopped issuing visas for domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia after those governments attempted to impose stricter conditions on Saudi employers, such as higher minimum pay and better working conditions.
The Philippines government last month said it was close to agreeing a deal with the kingdom that would set the minimum wage for Filipino nationals working in the kingdom - estimated at around 1.2m - at US$300.
Around 15 percent of Filipinos workers in the kingdom are estimated to work as maids or drivers.
Last month it was reported that the oil-rich state planned to import 45,000 Ethiopian nationals into the kingdom every month in order to meet its requirement for domestic workers.