KUWAIT CITY, Sept 17: A number of expatriates and organizations have called for establishment of the proposed Labor Court by government as a part of measures to deal with visa trading.
An expatriate identified as Saber Ali hopes the idea of a labor court may actually happen. Ali lamented he has remained a residency violator for many months after the sponsor asked for KD 900 to renew his residency. He said he works as a construction laborer for KD 5 per day and can’t afford half the sum the sponsor is requesting. He explained that he came to Kuwait on a visa he obtained for KD 1600 and works from 5.30 am until sunset, because his company does not stick to laws stipulating that work in the open should be suspended at noon during the summer.
Another laborer Samir Al-Sayed said the market is in dire need of labor court to put an end to the activities of greedy visa traders. He argued that expatriates in Kuwait are not intruders, because they came here with work permits issued by the official authorities represented by Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. He added that expatriates work hard to provide food and shelter for their spouses and children, and do not beg in the streets.
In his contribution, Adel Jamal said most companies in Kuwait are good and abide by laws. However, about 15 percent of the companies commit violations and practice visa trade with the help of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, which approves the transactions of fake companies.
For his part, head of Kuwait Contracting Companies Union Dr Salah Bouresli pointed to many draft laws and ideas aimed at reforming and regulating the labor market and demography, but it seems they will never come to pass. “It’s true that the country is full of marginal workers but there are productive laborers among them contributing to the development of Kuwait in all fields”, he noted.
International environmental expert Dr Mubarak Al-Ajmi also stressed the importance of establishing the labor court. However, it requires a decision from the senior political leadership, he said. He pointed out that the court will rid Kuwait (the land of humanity) of individuals that offend its reputation. He hopes the sponsorship system will be cancelled after proving it’s in violation of human rights.
Al-Ajmi stated the educational curriculum must include the concept of tolerance and mercy, while bringing up the children to respect expatriates regardless of their jobs or position. He stressed that citizens need to know that expatriates are a fundamental component of Kuwait’s demography.
Labor Consultant at Kuwait Human Rights Society Abdulrahman Al-Ghanem stressed the importance of establishing the labor court, saying it is not part of the humane attitude to punish labor violators and leave those responsible for bringing them to Kuwait unpunished.
Attorney and counselor of Kuwait Journalists Association Hamdan Al-Namshan is of the view that there is no need for the establishment of a labor court, indicating a specific department in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is already in charge of investigating disputes between laborers and their employers. He stated disputes that cannot be resolved at the department are normally referred to the First Instance Court. He reiterated the establishment of a labor court requires issuance of laws, as it happened with the Family Court. He noted the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is to blame for the spread of marginal labors, adding visa traffickers cannot practice their illegal activities without strong backing.
By Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff