The Sri Lankan Embassy in Doha has advised employers to be cautious about online advertisements for recruitment of maids and urged them to verify details with the mission.
Many advertisements for maids posted on social media and other online platforms lack credibility and some mislead employers, A K U Rohana, Counsellor at the embassy, told The Peninsula.
“There are people who advertise about maids on social media, but they are not reliable. We have received complaints from employers who recruited such maids,” he explained.
“Some maids don’t turn up after the recruitment process is completed and there are others who come here and run away,” he added.
According to Rohana, when a maid is recruited through a manpower agency, then the agency is responsible for the maid for three months if she does not show up for duties or runs away as the employer signs a mandatory bond of QR15,000 with the agency for this time period.
“However, if someone finds a maid through online advertisements or any other sources, we advise them to verify about the person with the embassy,” Rohana added.
It is mandatory for every Sri Lankan, skilled or unskilled, leaving the country for employment overseas to seek approval from the Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau.
The bureau runs mandatory short training programmes for women who want to travel abroad to take up domestic jobs.
The training also makes them aware about the laws and customs of the manpower importing countries.
Also, an employment contact has to be certified by the Sri Lankan mission in the host country as well as the bureau.
However, Rohana said some employers submit a different contract to the Labour Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs here.
“In such cases, if a dispute arises between the employer and the employee, the contract which is more favourable to the worker is taken into consideration,” he added.
Qatar is one of the largest employers of Sri Lankans in the region. The number of Sri Lankans here is estimated at 146,000 — an increase of about 20,000 from 2015. They include professionals, semi-skilled Sri Lankans as well as domestic workers and families.
Although the number of Sri Lankans has increased, the embassy receives a lesser number of complaints.
“We receive a low number of complaints compared to our missions in other countries in the region,” said Rohana.
“But there are many maids and other domestic workers who run away assuming they could find a better job,” said Rohana.
However, according to him, Sri Lankan workers who run away from their employers on valid grounds and wish to go back home should immediately report to the embassy.