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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 5: Bassam Al-Shammari, a specialist in domestic labor affairs, revealed a new phenomenon in the domestic labor market during the current period. It is the exodus of a large number of domestic workers from Kuwait to the UAE particularly Dubai, especially in light of the ease of the current procedures for obtaining an entry visa, reports Aljarida daily. Al-Shammari explained that Kuwait has turned into a “transit” and a gateway for those who wish to go to Dubai to work there.
They are recruited through local offices in accordance with legal frameworks, after which they apply for an entry visa to the Emirates and do not return. Unlike Kuwait, the work environment there is attractive to workers particularly domestic workers, with higher salaries and fewer labor disputes, not to mention the ease and smoothness of government transfer procedures, which allow workers to move from one employer to another, even move to the private sector, the same way as it used to be Kuwait in the past years.
He said, “It is unfortunate that Kuwait has been causing the expelling of these workers due to the exacerbation of labor disputes, which, according to October statistics issued by the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), amounted to more than 1,000 complaints. These complaints included absconding reports, being referred to the judiciary, and withholding the worker’s passport, in addition to complaints about not receiving the monthly dues or the end of service indemnity.”
Al-Shammari stressed that the increase in disputes resulted in the return of the phenomenon of domestic workers accumulating inside the embassies of their countries in Kuwait, adding that these domestic workers include those against whom reports of absconding were filed, or those who had labor disputes with their sponsors and could not be resolved by amicable methods, and the ruling on disputes by the authority was delayed for long periods. He revealed that a delegation of the Philippine Ministry of Labor currently visiting the country had met with these domestic workers in the embassy to identify their problems and work on expediting the procedures for their return to Manila.
Al-Shammari said, “After its visit, this delegation will prepare a detailed report on their findings as well as the meetings it conducted with PAM officials, owners of local recruitment offices or employers. The report will then be referred to the concerned authorities there.” He indicated that such reports affect greatly and directly on the decision that the Philippines takes, especially if the report includes negative aspects about the conditions of employment. Al-Shammari revealed that the issue of overcrowding of workers was the most prominent of the negative points observed in the past, as a consequence of which, the Philippines decided almost three years ago to stop exporting its labor to Kuwait. He called on the concerned authorities in the country, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, and PAM to find radical solutions to this phenomenon, especially since its continuation increases the reluctance of new workers to come to the Kuwaiti market.