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Domestic workers recruiting offices threaten to close shop

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‘Allow Ethiopian entry to cover labor shortage’

KUWAIT CITY, June 1: Seventy-nine owners of domestic labor recruitment offices have threatened to surrender their licenses to the Ministry of Commerce within two weeks, in response to the ministry’s decision to stick to its decision to fix the domestic workers recruiting fees which is no more than 890 dinars, including the travel cost and the “PCR” test fees while at the same time stressing on the need to cancel this what they called illconsidered decision, and reconsider the prices for contracts taking into account all the overheads, reports Al-Jarida daily.

This came during a press conference held Monday at the Costa del Sol Hotel on the ‘negative repercussions of the ministry of commerce’s decision to determine the cost of recruiting domestic workers on the labor market’ and dealt with a detailed explanation about these repercussions, which are reflected in this vital sector.

For his part, the specialist in domestic labor affairs and the owner of one of the recruitment companies, Bassam Al-Shammari, said: “Day after day, the government agencies concerned with the work of offices prove their dimension, which has reached the point of no return from the bitter reality experienced by offices and companies during the past three years, especially since the emergence of the Corona pandemic and the negative repercussions in left on the domestic labor market that afflicted “our work, until dozens of us are on the verge of bankruptcy.”

Bassam Al-Shammari, an expert in domestic labor affairs, affirmed that allowing the recruitment of Ethiopian workers will balance the domestic labor market, and solve the problem related to the shortage of domestic labor currently in the country, especially since the salaries of these workers are low, reports Aljarida daily. Al-Shammari revealed that a resumption of the Kuwaiti-Ethiopian discussions regarding the completion of the memorandum of understanding regulating the controls for the recruitment of domestic workers from Addis Ababa can be expected in the near future.

He indicated that an Ethiopian delegation is expected to visit Kuwait soon to complete the meetings with the relevant government agencies in order to finalize the terms of the memorandum before signing it and announcing its official entry into force. Al-Shammari explained that this step would open a new market for the recruitment of these workers to fill the acute shortage that Kuwait is currently suffering from. Many local offices are waiting for the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two sides and then the conclusion of the initial recruitment contracts known as “job order” with their counterparts in Addis Ababa. He stressed that allowing the recruitment of Ethiopian workers will bring about a balance in the domestic labor market, and solve the problems related to the shortage of domestic workers, especially since the costs of bringing in these workers and their salaries are low, which will not cause much burden for the citizens and residents.

Al-Shammari said, “The breakthrough that the labor market is currently witnessing in terms of expansion of the recruitment of domestic workers is threatening to decline in light of the frequent news about a Gulf state’s resumption of bringing in workers from the Philippines, which supplies Kuwait with about 70 percent of its needs for this labor”. He called on the concerned government agencies to expedite the signing of the memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia and start bringing in its workers as quickly as possible, in anticipation of any emergency that might negatively affect the market and result in a decline in the number of new domestic workers.

Al-Shammari stressed the importance of allowing the recruitment of domestic workers from several countries besides Ethiopia, and not limiting the matter to only two or three countries. He reiterated his appeal regarding the need to comprehensively address any previous shortcomings related to employment, and to apply the law in full against every violator of their rights in order to ensure the continuation of the recruitment process without any obstructions. Al-Shammari called on the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) to expand the induction of its employees, office owners and employers to the provisions of the new executive regulations of law No. 68/2015 regarding domestic workers.

He indicated that these regulations have been widely accepted and approved among the circles specialized in the affairs of recruitment and use of such manpower, adding that they include the rights that will improve the country’s image in the eyes of workers who wish to come here to work, including an increase in the minimum wage, annual leave, and other personal rights.

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