It’s illegal to hire runaway maids during Ramadhan

Many have expressed concern as families are increasingly looking at hiring runaway housemaids on a temporary basis during Ramadhan. While some feel employing such workers could lead to crimes, many feel it is important to regulate the services of part-time housemaids. Although it is illegal to hire runaway maids, families find it convenient because they can get the work done for lesser pay.
The Ministry of Manpower said it is illegal to hire runaway housemaids as they are considered violators. “By hiring runaway housemaids, employers are providing them with shelter and covering up their violations,” said an official.
Abdullah al Hashmi, who lives in Muscat, however said: “Yes it is illegal (to hire them). They have to be reported to the authorities, but what choice do we have?”
He said his wife finds it exhausting to perform household work during Ramadhan.
In Oman, a domestic help can be hired only on a two-year visa. Temporary hiring is out of question.
“I don’t need a housemaid the entire year, except during Ramadhan. I can’t afford to pay the clearance and housemaid agents’ fees. It’s not possible to pay 12 months’ salary,” said Bashir al Muqaimi, a resident of Muscat.
He said this (low salary) is what made him and others hire a part-time maid during Ramadhan.
It has become easier to find housemaids on social media. Some even advertise at some shopping centres.
Article 18 of labour law says an employer shall not let any non-Omani worker authorised to work for him, work for any other employer. The employer shall also not employ any worker authorised to work for another employer or residing in the Sultanate illegally.
According to government statistics, 57,420 workers fled their employers in the first six months of 2015, accounting for three per cent of the 1.8 million expatriates in the country.
Thirty-one housemaids were arrested by the ministry’s joint inspection team for violating labour law between February 21 and 27 this year.