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Domestic workers ban will have no effect on Kuwait – MoI to endorse new regulations

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 30: Security sources have played down the effects of the decision taken by the Philippines to ban sending domestic workers to Kuwait in reaction to the execution of a Filipina domestic worker who was convicted of murdering her employer’s daughter, reports Arab Times daily.

They stressed that Kuwait will not be affected by any country’s decision to ban their citizens from travelling to this country, adding that such decisions will also not affect the supply of domestic workers.

In this regard, the sources indicated that Ministry of Interior is on the verge of endorsing the new executive regulations act for the domestic workers law. This will standardize the cost for bringing domestic workers into the country, oblige domestic labor bureaus to abide by the regulations, and impose punishment of five-year imprisonment and/or fine of KD 5,000 for any manipulation of the regulations.

They said the new executive regulations will be endorsed by Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and Ministry of Interior in the coming few weeks. It will then be published in the local newspapers and circulated in domestic labor bureaus and other relevant establishments.

According to these new regulations, the minimum cost for bringing a domestic worker into the country will be KD 200 for certain nationalities with monthly salary ranging between KD 70 and KD 80. For other nationalities, the recruitment cost will be KD 300 and their monthly salary will range between KD 110 and KD 120.

It is worth mentioning that the cost for bringing a domestic worker into the country used to be KD 900 for certain nationalities and KD 1,200 for rest of the nationalities. Because of these prices, Ministry of Interior decided to regulate the domestic labor market.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain denied reports that his country has banned its citizens from coming to Kuwait to work as domestic workers. He clarified that only women have been banned from coming to Kuwait for domestic labor. Ambassador Jain explained that his government had intervened and stopped female domestic workers from coming to Kuwait.

It has set several conditions related to sending women to not only Kuwait but all regional countries for domestic labor. Among the conditions set by the Indian government are bank guarantee of $2,500, age of the female domestic worker should not be below 30 years and the minimum salary should be KD 75.

Ambassador Jain revealed that Kuwait rejected the condition of bank guarantee due to the fact that such a condition requires parliamentary approval. He indicated about ongoing negotiations aimed at solving the issue related to female domestic workers, although the issue has not affected the relations between the two countries.

In this regard, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait Kandeepan Bala affirmed that his country currently has no plan to ban sending domestic workers to Kuwait, even though they are expecting the government of Kuwait to take effective measures to organize the domestic labor conditions. Ambassador Bala revealed that most of the complaints lodged by Sri Lankan residents in Kuwait, who work in either the domestic labor sector or companies, are related to mistreatment and nonpayment of salaries, indicating that a decision in consideration of this will perhaps be taken in the future.

Furthermore, Ambassador of Nepal to Kuwait Yagya Bahadur Hamal said his country’s government decided to organize the process of sending domestic workers to Kuwait aft er the embassy received several complaints, affirming that such a move was aimed to protect Nepalese domestic laborers in the country.

Ambassador Hamal indicated that some complaints received by the embassy were against agents, stressing that the decision taken by the Nepalese government is temporary.

In addition, the outgoing Ethiopian Ambassador to Kuwait Mohammad Gudeta said his country’s decision to ban its nationals from coming to Kuwait as domestic workers is also temporary and is not limited to only Kuwait but most of the countries in the world. Ambassador Gudeta indicated that the ban was based on several factors including improvement of the working conditions of the laborers in a manner that serves the interests of both the employer and the employee.

Affirming that Kuwait is a suitable place for the Ethiopian labor force, he said the Ethiopian government is taking utmost efforts to train and improve the skills of its national labor force. Ambassador Gudeta revealed that there are 46,000 Ethiopians in Kuwait and majority of them are working as domestic workers.

Regarding Indonesia, the government of Indonesia, since 2009, banned its nationals from traveling to the countries of the Middle East, not Kuwait alone, to work as domestic workers. Th ere are plans to extend that ban to include other countries in the world.

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