Sunday , December 17 2017

Embassy problems

I am an Egyptian national and have been working at an Asian Embassy here in Kuwait for the last 15 years as a Secretary-Arabic Translator.

I was locally recruited in Kuwait and hold a government residence permit (Article No. 17) under the sponsorship of the Embassy.

I have decided to resign from my position but require legal advice on the following issues. Our embassy knows nothing about the law and also does not want to recognize it.

1. As a locally recruited employee in Kuwait, is it correct that I follow Kuwait Labor Law No. 06/2010 and am entitled to “Service Indemnity”?

2. If I am entitled to the indemnity and the embassy refuses to pay me, do I have the legal right to submit a complaint to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Kuwait … and if the problem is not solved, can I file a legal case in the Kuwait courts? (Please note that no clause is mentioned in my contract about service indemnity or anything related to Kuwait Labor Law.)

3. In November 2014, I was verbally informed by the embassy that I must pay a monthly tax to the Embassy Government because I have reached the maximum ceiling of my salary. They cut my salary from KD 620 to KD 500 for the last 4 months (November 2014 – March 2015).

This month, April 2015, they paid me full salary without deducting tax. No reason was justified for the action verbally nor written and nobody knows why the Embassy deducted my salary and then paid back full salary.

■ Does the embassy have the right to tax my monthly salary especially since I receive no service/benefits from the embassy government

■ Do I have the right to request for a refund of the money for the past deducted months

■ Can I submit a complaint against the Embassy at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or the courts

Name withheld
Answer: A lot of embassies forget that their employees, hired locally, are subject to the laws of the land i.e. in the country that they are based. While it’s true that the laws of the embassy’s country are enforced in the embassy and also that diplomats have immunity from prosecution it is also true that these embassies can’t violate the laws of the countries where they are housed.

So, in your case you should not be taxed and if any amount has been deducted from your salary this must be refunded to you. Please remember, however, that you can’t file a case against the embassy because you can’t file a case against a government entity although you can file cases against individuals but then they are immune from prosecution. Having said that, please remember that the Ministry of Justice can, however, through Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs file a complaint against these embassies with their counterpart Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The respective countries have then to offer suitable answers, for the violations committed, to the host government. In most cases, these diplomats face action in their own countries and can even be taken to court there. In your case, on a complaint the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs can question the legality of the embassy’s actions — by even calling the ambassador or an embassy official to the ministry — and if it is not satisfied it can take up the case with the embassy’s government.

So, in your case we would advice you to submit a complaint to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor or the Ministry of Justice which can ask Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene and get you justice. Please remember that the embassies must respect the laws of the land and if they do not they can be questioned through the procedure mentioned above.

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