(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The labour ministry on Sunday said it had no authority to intervene after the Sri Lankan embassy reportedly sought to impose minimum salary requirements and financial guarantees on domestic helper recruitment agencies.
The ministry's spokesperson, Haitham Khasawneh, told The Jordan Times that it has no say in determining the salaries of domestic helpers, to which the Kingdom's minimum wage laws do not apply and which are agreed upon between recruiters in the source country and in Jordan.
"This procedure is bound to an agreement between the recruitment agencies on both sides. The ministry does not have any role in limiting the salary base of the domestic helpers," Khasawneh said.
These remarks came in response to a claim by recruitment agents that they had received a memorandum from the Sri Lankan embassy in Amman on Thursday demanding that they set the salaries of Sri Lankan helpers at JD250 as a prerequisite for recruitment.
"We received a memo from the Sri Lankan embassy" which also requests that the recruitment agents deposit 1,000 at the embassy as insurance prior to the domestic helper's arrival in the Kingdom," Domestic Helpers Recruitment Agencies Association President Khaled Hseinat said, adding that he has called for an urgent meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador to discuss the impact of the decision on recruitment.
Hseinat warned that the embassy's decision would have negative repercussions on recruitment and would compel employers and recruitment agencies to avoid recruiting Sri Lankans.
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Jordan Gamini Rajapakse was travelling Sunday and was unavailable for comment.
Last month, Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera said Sri Lankan workers in the Kingdom were being treated well compared to other countries in the region, although there have been some minor complaints by Sri Lankan domestic helpers regarding unpaid wages and a lack of social security coverage.
The government signed an agreement with Bangladesh in April to open up the South Asian country as a new destination for the recruitment of domestic helpers in order to lower recruitment costs for employers in Jordan.
At the time, ministry officials said the opening of a new source country would reduce recruitment costs, which were expected to drop to as low as JD1,500 after reaching nearly JD4,000.