DOHA: More than three months have lapsed since the government allowed local manpower agencies to recruit maids from Bosnia and Macedonia, but no family has so far shown interest in hiring a European maid, enquiries made with at least 10 agencies suggest.
“There is no demand for Bosnian and Macedonian maids here,” was the standard answer of most manpower agencies this newspaper contacted to know how the recruitment of domestics from the five new countries that were opened up last May was going on.
Bosnia and Macedonia were among the countries that got the approval which also included Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The government opened up the new markets as the Philippines and Indonesia, the two major domestic manpower exporting countries, raised the minimum wages of their nationals coming here to work as maids.
Several manpower agencies said they were willing to bring maids from Bosnia and Macedonia, but they haven’t so far because no family has asked for one.
Recruiting agencies say they have no plans to get maids from the new countries and get stuck in the absence of demand.
According to them, Bangladesh is the only country so far for whose women there is some demand in the domestic sector.
Asked what possibly could be the reason for families here not willing to hire Bosnian and Macedonian maids, officials of manpower agencies said they had no idea.
They said a straight no when prodded to hazard a guess.
“We don’t know the reason and we don’t want to guess. All we can say is no one wants a European maid,” an agency official said, visibly irritated.
The answer to the enigmatic question was provided by sources in the Qatari community which relies heavily on domestic workers.
“We wouldn’t prefer our children to be raised by a European woman. We prefer Asian maids,” said a Qatari woman requesting anonymity. “Keeping a maid in the house is about trust and comfort.”
A young Qatari woman professional said she thought the whole idea of bringing European maids could be because of the increasing number of expatriate families in the country.
“This could help western expatriate families, but I wouldn’t like a European maid in my home. Presently, we have two maids from the Philippines, and if either or both of them leave, I will look for another Asian maid,” she said.
Recruitment agencies say the demand for maids from the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Ethiopia remained high.