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Monday , January 30 2023

Kuwait Human Rights issues report about status of migrant workers in the State of Kuwait

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The following is the last part of the full report of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) on the Annual Third Observation About the Status of Migrant Workers in the State of Kuwait. — Editor

1 / Decisions:
The most prominent decisions issued during the reporting period are Ministerial Resolution No. 22 of 2022 issued on April 21 regarding the executive regulations of Law No. 68 of 2015. Regarding domestic workers, and with the issuance of this decision, Ministerial Resolution No. (2194/2016), which was regulating the same law and all decisions and circulars that violate the provisions of the new regulation, was canceled, while work will remain in force with decisions and circulars that do not violate the provisions of the new regulation, which included 38 articles, the most prominent of which is specifying the duration of the annual leave – at least one month after the lapse of eleven years of work, and the regulations set conditions for transferring a domestic worker to an employer using the force of law according to several conditions, and also set new conditions for the issuance of licenses.

The offices of practicing the profession of recruiting domestic workers from abroad, and the regulations prevented the deduction of any amount from the worker’s financial dues, while it fined the employer who was late in paying the wages of his domestic worker on the seventh day of the due date, at an amount of 10 dinars for each month added to his monthly wage, in addition to that overtime work hours do not exceed two hours per day and the worker is entitled to half a day’s wages.

On April 25, and based on the cabinet’s instructions regarding governance and the expansion of the use of automated systems, the Ministry of Interior and the Public Authority for Manpower launched a service to pay and print the electronic [1] civil work entry visa through the companies’ platform on the official website of the ministry [2] and in conjunction with it, the issuance of paper entry visas through the General Authority was stopped.

For the workforce, according to official statements by the Public Authority for Manpower, parallel measures will be taken to launch the electronic issuance of entry visas for work in the private sector and stop the related services, which are printing work visas, and cancel visas that have not been printed, while removing these services from all the authority’s automated systems. The statements indicated that the service of canceling a printed visa will be limited only to visas printed through the authority’s systems, and that the acceptance of requests to cancel the work permit will be limited to whether the visa was canceled by the Ministry of Interior with the worker outside the country, and the service of canceling permits for any reason.

The reasons in the event that the employer prints the electronic visas will require the cancellation of the visa on the basis of which the permit was issued with the Ministry of Interior in accordance with the decisions issued by the Ministry in this regard before taking the procedures for canceling the permit from the Authority. On March 31, the Public Authority for Manpower issued Circular No. (3) to regulate some procedures of offices and companies recruiting domestic workers, and the circular prohibits employers from signing any declarations or contracts not issued and approved by the Public Authority for Manpower, and not requesting a salary certificate or employer data own for any reason, and allow the request for a copy of the employer’s passport to match the signature of contracts. The circular also prohibits receiving domestic workers deposited with embassies without the written approval of the Department for Regulating the Recruitment of Domestic Workers with a mention of the reasons. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a decree regulating the cost of recruiting domestic workers. On January 25, the Public Authority for Manpower allowed the issuance of work permits for those aged sixty years and over who hold a high school diploma or less or its equivalent certificates, following a meeting of the Authority’s Board of Directors headed by the Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Integrity Promotion.

The authority has administrative decision No. (34) of 2022 amending Article 37 of Administrative Resolution No. (27) regarding the issuance of a list of rules and procedures for granting work permits, during which the text of Article No. (37) of the list of rules and procedures for issuing work permits was amended to become as follows: It is allowed to renew or transfer work permits within the private sector for a period of one year for expatriate workers who have reached the age of sixty years and above who hold a general secondary school certificate or less and its equivalent certificates in accordance with the decisions in force with the authority and according to the following conditions: (An annual fee of two hundred and fifty must be met Kuwaiti dinars, and that the worker is insured with a comprehensive, irrevocable health insurance policy from one of the insurance companies listed in the stock market) and the decision excluded the husbands and children of Kuwaiti women and the wives of Kuwaiti men, as well as the Palestinians We are document holders.

2 / Measures:
During the reporting period, the moves made by the Ministry of Interior aimed at apprehending violators in the labor market emerged. On the one hand, it announced that the Deportation and Temporary Detention Affairs Department of the General Administration of Correctional Institutions deported 1,764 violators of the law during January, including 1,058 men and 607 women, at a time when the statistics of the coming months were not announced, and on the other hand, the ministry led intensive activity in order to apprehend violators of the Labor and Residence Law, which resulted in the arrest of a number of violators of workers, whether absent or employed by different business owners, and a number of fake offices were seized by about 30 fictitious offices for domestic workers were present in which 156 violating workers were present, while a fictitious nursing office was seized, in which there were 3 workers engaged in the profession of home nursing. In this context, the Ministry announced, through the Security Media Department, that the validity of entry visas to the country will be restored to 3 months, starting from March 20.

On the other hand, the Public Authority for Manpower issued Circular No. (1) for the year 2022 regarding (requests for final cancellation of travel – cancellation and transfer outside the sector). The authority said[4] that requests for final cancellation of travel will be received, provided that the worker appears in person before the employee in charge of the Labor Relations Department and ensures that he receives his financial dues Finance and evidence of his desire for the final cancellation of travel or cancellation and transfer outside the sector with the signature of the clearance prepared for this in accordance with the procedures followed in this regard. The authority also indicated that the competent labor departments checked the existence of the clearance in accordance with the procedures followed, and canceled what contravened the provisions of what was mentioned in the circular issued by the authority.

Among the measures taken by the Public Authority for Manpower is the launch of a new service through the People’s Sahel application[5] for government transactions, whereby it has become possible to inquire about the date of the session for a labor complaint that is included in the list of (inquiry services), while the work period has been extended with the mechanism of issuing work permits for recruits with an entry visa for visits.

Commercial contracts issued before the date of November 24, 2021 on the authority’s automated system referred to in Circular No. 20 of 2021 to become until March 31, 2022. During the period, and after the Public Authority for Manpower received a notification from a police station of a labor strike against one of the companies contracting with the government, it stressed. During a press statement, it took all the measures guaranteed by law to protect the rights of workers in the face of violating employers, and called on all employers in general and those linked to government contracts in particular to abide by the provisions of Labor Law No. 6 of 2010 as it represents the minimum rights of workers, according to a text Article No. 6 of this law, in order to avoid taking the measures guaranteed by law in this regard. The Public Authority for Manpower also published, during the first three months, the statistics of the work of the Department of Regulating the Recruitment of Domestic Workers every month, and the statistics were monitored as follows:

3/ Media
Coverage of workers’ Issues in Kuwait: The media outlets focused on the issues of female workers and workers in Kuwait, especially with coincided with the complete return to the manifestations of normal life to what it was before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and during the period many reports were published on the situation of female workers and workers in Kuwait, including what was reported by Al- Jarida newspaper about government decisions regarding a complete return to the manifestations of normal life to what it was before the emergence of the pandemic, it said that the recent decisions have revealed the severe shortage of expatriate workers, which the Kuwaiti labor market suffers from in various sectors, Especially at the level of indispensable professional and craftsmanship, and the demand for it is increasing in an unprecedented way nowadays.

She pointed out that the local market is still suffering from a severe shortage of domestic workers, at a rate of approximately 60 percent, as a result of the recruitment restriction in a number of countries whose workers have become reluctant to come to Kuwait, while noting that Kuwait is still expelling domestic workers, for reasons related to the no speed of delivery All financial dues before departure, the settlement of labor disputes, as well as the retraction of financial claims related to the monthly salary or the end of service. In a prominent headline in Al-Qabas newspaper, which stated: “Embassies set a minimum wage for their new workers,” she said, quoting her sources, that the amendments of the ministries of labor of countries that she did not name set a minimum salary that supports Kuwait’s approach to preventing the residency trade and filling the gaps related to this from their countries, and that attachés The labor force in the country has taken new steps, which prevent the recruitment contract from being incompatible with the educational certificate that the worker holds, in addition to setting a minimum wage for approval, especially the new ones, before coming to Kuwait, while stating that there is a special value for domestic labor. The Filipino, whether men or women, has set a minimum salary for a domestic worker of no less than 120 dinars and about 170 dinars for a domestic worker as a driver, and it increases if the worker specializes in medical care or caring for the elderly.

The Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, said that the Kuwaiti Cabinet decided to limit the number of workers in government workplaces to no more than 50 percent, and each government agency determines the appropriate percentage for it, not exceeding these limits, noting that the cabinet called on the private sector to reduce the number of workers in workplaces. To the minimum possible for the conduct of business, and the decisions included emphasizing on workers in nurseries and children’s clubs the necessity of completing immunization against the Corona virus, as well as ensuring that they adhere to the application of health requirements.

4/ Recommendations:
Based on the foregoing, the Kuwait Society for Human Rights commends the positive steps taken in order to protect the rights of workers and workers in the State of Kuwait and to organize the labor market, especially in the field of providing electronic services that facilitate all transactions. It also makes the following recommendations:

■ From what it notes: The Kuwait Society for Human Rights, through its provision of psychological support service and its impact on the beneficiaries of this service, It recommends the Public Authority for Manpower and the Ministry of Interior to establish a service through which psychological support services are provided to workers and workers directly affected by any abuses committed against them in the workplace, by serving psychological support and mending the injuries and rehabilitating and indulging for the male and female workers who are injured by the cases of profiteering happen to them.

■ The Kuwait Society for Human Rights recommends the necessity of providing interpreters for migrant workers and workers who wish to file complaints in labor relations departments or in labor courts, as non-native speakers of Arabic and English face difficulty in speaking and explaining the case.

■ Training workers in labor relations departments and qualifying them in personal aspects and dealing with the public.

■ Taking more measures to protect migrant workers and workers who file complaints against their employers and their residency expires during that time, and to provide accommodation for workers and workers in the private sector who are dismissed from their jobs for any reason and are simultaneously expelled from their employers’ places of residence.

■ We urge the Kuwaiti government to accede to the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Decent Work Convention for Domestic Workers No. 189 of 2011, and we also call for the activation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which was adopted during December 2018 in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

■ Abolishing the sponsorship system and working to establish an alternative system that safeguards rights for all.

■ The authorities concerned with receiving labor complaints and grievances must thoroughly investigate them to measure the extent to which the criteria of Law (91) of 2013 regarding combating trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants are applied, and to ensure that they may constitute potential trafficking crimes.

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