Around five percent of the 160 marriages that Saudi men have gotten into with foreign women, in the year of 2014 and 2013 were to the domestic workers. This was reported by a survey carried out by the Ministry of Justice. The Civil Status Court that is in Jeddah usually witnesses the signing of marriage contracts between the sponsor and their domestic worker, only after the sponsor man has obtained permission from all relevant bodies and authorities which allow him to marry the domestic worker and foreign woman. The domestic worker also must get authorization and permission from her family back home to facilitate the proceedings and procedures of marriage.
The survey stated that out of the 160 marriages, around 90 of them were with Moroccan women, 30 of them were with Indonesian women, 13 were with Filipino women, 22 were with Sri Lankan women and five of them were with Tunisian women. A member of the governance committee of the ministry of justice, Ahmad Al Mabi, stated that the procedures of marriage to a foreign woman or to a domestic worker are common to those of marrying local Saudi women. The man must make an application to the governorate which is then, in turn, referred on to the Ministry of Interior. After the approval, the application is forwarded to the Civil Status Court, which then oversees the signing of the legal marriage contract.
He stated that the domestic workers need proper authorization from their respective guardians via their national embassies or consulates. He further stated that the local Saudi men marry their maids only either since the wife is very ill or the wife neglects her husband, since several women leave the day to day running of their house to the maid completely, which in turn allows them to get closer and acquainted with the male sponsors.
Hani Al Ghamidi, a psychologist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has stated that whenever a local Saudi man marries his sponsored domestic worker, the society criticizes him and the local community rejects the idea completely. However, if we think of it sanely we can see that a man marrying a woman is perfectly normal, although the woman is a maid or the man’s employee.
Mr. Al Ghamdi also further added that the working women or those wives who are serious about their careers may not tend to or look after their husband in the best way that they should, whereas the domestic worker is always there and at their service. This helps in attracting the men who want such wives and thus it leads to marriage. Al Ghamidi has confirmed that there are several stories out there about illegal relationships between the male sponsors and the female domestic workers, however, there are no clear figures or statistics due to the cases not being reported or being kept under the radar.