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Contract problems

I joined a company in Kuwait on Nov 4, 2011 as an Electrical Engineer (Trainee). I am an Electrical Engineer by qualification, but on my visa my job description is “technician”. My basic salary is KD 160. When I started working here, the company told me to sign an employment contract for 2 years. As per that contract, after 2 years the contract was to be renewed automatically for an indefinite period contract and any party could terminate the contract with a notice of 3 months. In October 2013, the company forced me to sign another contract by giving me some false assurances, namely:

1) My visa would be changed from a Technician visa to an Engineer’s visa (given written memo by HR)

2) A Driving License would be provided (verbal assurance)

3) The contract would not bind the employee in any situation (verbal assurance) I didn’t agree to this contract.

So they sent me an inter-office memo stating that my visa would be changed to an Engineer’s visa upon renewal of my residence. But in December 2013, my visa was not changed to Engineer’s visa.

When I went to ask about this, they told it is under process and it would be changed soon. It’s been over 6 months from the date of the submission of my degree certificate but until now my visa has not been changed. When I asked them to release my degree certificate, they told me it is under visa processing and they are holding my engineering degree certificate and passport.

I have some family problems in India, so I resigned my job on March 18, 2014. But the company didn’t accept my resignation. The company is harassing and cheated me in the following ways:

1) As per the offer letter and 1st contract the term of contract is 2 years but now it has been extended to 4years through cheating.

2) As per the offer letter overtime is not applicable but the company is forcing me to work overtime more than 150 hours per month.

3) Training period is 18 months as per offer letter and 1st contract but it has now been changed to 2 years.

4) In the contract it is mentioned that the second contract was signed on Nov 4, 2011, bypassing the 1st contract.

5) When one contract is valid, the forced me to sign another contract by changing the terms and conditions.

6) They are holding the passport and engineering degree certificate.

7) Overtime is not given as per the Kuwait Labor Law.

8) Saying that I am a trainee engineer but until now no training is Being given and I have been directly put in the job.

9) Threatening me to pay 40,000 US dollars or sign another contract of not coming to Kuwait for the next 2 years.

10) They did not accepting my resignation. Please advise me what to do in this situation, need urgent help.

Name withheld
Answer
: Please remember that no one can force you to sign any document but now that you have done so there is not much you can do unless you can prove that you were forced to sign the contract against your will. So the only thing you can do now is file a complaint with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (through the Labor Office in your area). You must provide all the evidence you have.

You can also ask the Labor Office to sanction your release and with that also ask for the return of all your documents which are with your employers. If the Labor Office finds your answers convincing, it will not only order your employer to return your documents but also sanction your release so that you are free to join another company or leave the country if you so desire.

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