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Impossible to continue determining costs
KUWAIT CITY, July 27: In light of the domestic labor crisis persisting as a result of the dispute between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on one hand and the offices over fixing recruitment prices on the other, a source in domestic labor affairs put forward 3 solutions to end the crisis quickly and with minimal damage, reports Al-Rai daily. The source told the daily that there are three ways to solve the problems and differences in a way that satisfies all parties.
They are re-opening the licenses for recruitment offices for recruitment and employment as they were in the past, so that the office can find an alternate employment in another house for the domestic worker if she refuses to work and not return her to her country and bear the financial loss; working to open the way for the recruitment of labor from several countries and not to rely on the Philippines only and the necessity for members of the Federation of Labor Recruitment Offices to actively search for alternative markets on the African continent.
For his part, a specialist in domestic labor affairs, Bassam Al-Shammari, confirmed that the decision to determine the costs of recruitment was issued in February 2021 during the “corona” pandemic, and set it at 890 dinars for companies and offices, and charged the costs of tickets and medical examinations to the employer, while the cost was 390 dinars in the event the employer submits the worker’s passport copy to the office (inclusive of the ticket).
He added that companies and offices started recruiting on this basis, “but the total cost is not less than 1,400 dinars for the recruited workers, in addition to the costs of institutional quarantine.” He said that “after the Cabinet canceled the institutional quarantine, whose cost is estimated at 230 dinars, the Ministry of Commerce sent on February 19, 2020, a letter based on an inquiry from the Public Authority for Manpower, the content of which was in violation of what was done in the past and resulted in offices suffering financial losses due to their inability to fulfill the obligations.”
Al-Shammari added: “The decision came in violation of the agreements concluded with the domestic labor exporting countries, as well as Law No. 68 of 2015 regarding the recruitment of domestic workers, especially in the part of direct recruitment estimated at 390 dinars, which forces you to violate local and international laws, and exposes the recruiting companies to the risk of trafficking in humans, especially in agreements with the Philippines.
He explained that the companies have taken steps to clarify this matter, and the Kuwaiti Federation, as well as the independent offices, have submitted the necessary studies to clarify the real costs, and warn that the decision creates a black market outside of supervision, and may cause the recruitment process to stop if it continues in its current unstudied form. He pointed out that “all costs have risen globally, the most important of which are travel tickets that exceeded 300 dinars,” adding that “compared to neighboring countries, Kuwait remains the lowest country in terms of costs, which range between 1100 and 1300 dinars as a real cost.”
Al-Shammari considered that “it is impossible to continue determining costs, as continuing it in this way will cause severe harm to all parties, and future results will be in the interest of the State of Kuwait,” noting that “these ill-considered decisions are mainly caused by the overlap of competencies between government agencies, the most important of which is in this regard is the Ministry of Commerce and the Public Authority for Manpower. For example, the Ministry of Commerce does not realize that there are no direct recruitment contracts between the Philippines and Kuwait. However, the issued decision contained a clear violation of the agreement between the two countries, and the Public Authority for Manpower prohibits companies and offices from entering into direct recruitment contracts, and considers them inappropriate.