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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 14: Director of Domestic Labor Department at Ministry of Interior Mohammad Al-Ajmi announced the department’s intention to close down 17 domestic labor offices for violating regulations governing the operation of these offices. During a seminar organized by the State Ministry for National Assembly Affairs concerning domestic labor law, he indicated that the door is now open for issuance of licenses to avoid monopoly by a handful of operators.
Al-Ajmi revealed about an ongoing process for the return of Indian workers to the labor market, stressing that a committee has been set up for this purpose and it has been coordinating with the concerned authorities to resolve the issue. He said the department has received 95 applications for setting up offices and five applications for establishing companies.
Al-Ajmi revealed that the department received 1,341 complaints in 2016 out of which 63 were from employees, 1,257 from employers and 21 from recruitment offices. He explained that the new law consists of 54 articles concerning the rights and duties of employees, employers and recruitment offices. The articles also stipulate conditions for issuance of licenses for offices and for dealing with problems related to restoring sponsorship.
Sponsorship can now be restored within six months instead of 100 days as was in the past. Al-Ajmi stressed that the duration of employment starts from the date of resumption rather than date of arrival in the country, assuring that the law takes care of the human rights aspect by specifying weekly and annual holidays for workers.
He reiterated the need to lodge complaints within a week against those who are absconding, revealing that an embassy is sheltering 400 workers among whom only 50 were reported as absconding. Al-Ajmi disclosed that another embassy is sheltering 300 of such workers, while reporting its concern to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Council of Ministers. He said the recruitment of domestic workers from Ethiopia was suspended due to the crimes committed by some of them and many related cases are still pending, adding that recruitment of domestic workers from many other countries are in place based on political, security or health reasons, in addition to disinterest of some of them.
Al-Ajmi warned people against sheltering absconders, as it is against the law to provide shelter to workers without documents. He indicated that the penalty for accommodating absconders will be made more rigid and that people proven to commit this violation will have to pay for the air fare to deport those workers.
Al-Ajmi declared that the mode of salary payment is through bank deposit, but this has been relaxed due to some problems, affirming that proof of payment through signature or receipt is now acceptable. He stressed that the suspension of recruitment of domestic workers from Indonesia is based on a religious fatwa issued in that country. He explained that the clerics in Indonesia prohibit women from working outside the country in the absence of muharem (a man from her first degree family who can protect her dignity). This law was passed in the Indonesian parliament and is maintained.
By Fares Al-Abadan Al-Seyassah Staff