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Domestic workers find green pasture in the private sector

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Phenomenon of shortage of domestics continues

KUWAIT CITY, April 23: The phenomenon of the shortage of domestic workers continues to increase in the local labor market, without the ability of the concerned government agencies to find a radical solution to stop this situation, reports Al-Jarida daily. Those concerned with the issue of domestic workers say most of the domestic workers have found green pastures in the private sector, taking advantage of the severe shortage of craftsmen and professional workers that the local labor market suffers from, and the repercussions of the decision taken by the Public Authority for Manpower regarding the non-graduate expatriates who are 60 years and above which led to the departure of thousands of craftsmen and professional workers, which created a parallel market by hiring domestic workers to fill this void as a result of which countless citizens and residents complain their inability to find domestic workers especially during the month of Ramadan, and with the approaching summer vacation.

This is confirmed by the statistics issued by the concerned authorities, which indicate tens of thousands of domestic workers now finding their way to the private sector, although they risk deportation if caught violating the labor law. The daily surveyed the opinions of some owners of companies and offices recruiting domestic workers, who confirmed the poor conditions of the labor market, in light of the continuing confusion experienced by the relevant government agencies, and the lack of coordination among them, and the resulting wrong decisions that complicate the problem and multiply the suffering of the labor market. A specialist in domestic labor affairs, Bassam Al-Shammari, confirmed the phenomenon of domestic labor infiltration into the private sector saying this situation has worsened in recent months because the authorities are unable to find solution to the problem which has only worsened by the decision adopted by PAM.

Al-Shammari told the daily that statistics issued by PAM indicate about 60 percent of the ‘loose’ labor violate the residence and labor laws and many of them get caught during random inspection campaigns organized by the concerned authorities. They prefer to risk their lives because the temptation to make quick money is too big or rather make a quick buck and leave the country when they are caught.

Al-Shammari attributed the reason for this to the migration of craftsmen and professional workers and the consequent severe shortage that the market is currently suffering from, which prompted business owners to create a parallel market through the use of domestic workers to fill this shortage, stressing that some government decisions are not prudent, especially the decision by PAM to stop renewing work permits of those non-graduate 60 years and above – the decision that rode the roller-coaster for more than a year before it was amended and allowed to pay for renewal money in excess of 800 dinars which includes private health insurance and 250 residence fee. Al-Shammari confirmed that the continuation of the decision issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry not to allow domestic help recruiting offices to charge more than 890 dinars has also added fuel to fire because recruitment agencies are citing costs of ticket and medical changes cost them much money.

He said that “the government’s confusion and the issuance of inapplicable decisions regarding the recruitment of domestic workers and the determination of the estimated costs in return reveal a lack of understanding of the dimensions of the problem and the complete distance of the decision-makers from what is happening on the ground.” It has dire consequences for the domestic labor market. Al-Shammari points out that the inability of the concerned government agencies, including PAM to strike the balance between decisions to address the imbalance that affected the demographic structure in the country and the lack of restrictions on bringing in new workers, as well as the failure to take steps and procedures far from the easy traditional solutions of prevention are also major causes for labor shortage.

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