Domestic workers’ offices demand urgent recruitment pricing reassessment

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Domestic workers’ offices complain about reconsidering their recruitment prices.

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 11: Dozens of renowned owners of offices and firms specializing in recruiting domestic workers across the nation have jointly filed a collective grievance with Abdullah Al-Joaan, the Minister of Trade and Industry, contesting Ministerial Resolution No. (2/2024). This resolution seeks to amend specific provisions of Ministerial Resolution No. (103/2022), which establishes the pricing framework for recruiting domestic workers. In their petition, they demand an urgent reconsideration of the decision, asserting that it not only contradicts legal statutes but also unfairly jeopardizes their businesses, potentially forcing them into closure or bankruptcy.

The grievance, a copy of which was obtained by Al-Jarida, delineates the complainants’ dissatisfaction with the decision made by the former Minister of Commerce, which capped the recruitment costs for domestic workers based on their nationality. For instance, Asian workers were set at a maximum of 750 dinars, African workers at 575 dinars, and those with special passports at 350 dinars. The petitioners argue that this decision was made during a transitional period of government, primarily focused on urgent matters, and lacked the requisite comprehensive study and consultation with stakeholders, including the representative union.

Furthermore, the complainants elucidate the anticipated profit margin for recruitment offices and firms, computed per Article 1 of Law No. (19/2016) governing the establishment of domestic worker companies. At a standard rate of 10 percent of the recruitment cost specified by the Ministry of Commerce, the projected margins stand at 75 dinars for Asian workers, 57 dinars for African workers, and 35 dinars for those holding special passports. They question the viability of these margins in covering operational expenses such as rent, employee wages, housing, government fees, and advertising, emphasizing that the decision is pushing them perilously towards insolvency.

Moreover, they express grave concerns over the potential repercussions on the recruitment quotas for new domestic workers, foreseeing a crisis in their availability soon.

Highlighting disparities in the pricing scheme, particularly concerning workers with special passports, the petitioners raise questions about the absence of an approved employment contract model sanctioned by the Public Authority for Manpower. They underscore the legal risks borne by local offices in recruitment without such contracts, as stipulated by Article No. (68/2015) governing domestic workers. They cite the example of recruitment costs associated with special passports from Sri Lanka, which were substantially higher than the ministry’s stipulated price, indicating a glaring oversight in the decision-making process.

The complainants urge Minister Al-Joaan to immediately suspend the implementation of the current resolution until a comprehensive reassessment is conducted in collaboration with specialists to determine a fair and realistic recruitment cost that considers the interests of all stakeholders involved in the domestic worker sector.

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