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Kuwaiti citizens burden rises
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 4: The cost for the recruitment of domestic workers has risen significantly, thereby increasing the burden for Kuwaiti citizens, reports Al- Qabas daily. The regulatory measures taken by the concerned state authorities following the COVID-19 pandemic did not bear fruit in the labor market, thus leading to an increase in the number of complaints from citizens and recruitment bureaus alike. Citizens highlighted the fact that the recent measures did not succeed in addressing the growing shortage, as they suffer in obtaining a domestic worker due to the high prices as well as the increase in demand versus the decrease in supply.
The complaints of citizens and recruitment bureaus were mainly concerning the cost of bringing in workers from the Philippines, as the value of contract for each of them ranges between KD 1,700 and KD 2,000. The offices are no longer able to sign new contracts except with the Philippines and India – the two countries with which Kuwait signed two effective agreements, – from where workers are recruited regularly. Domestic workers are being recruited to a limited extent from Sri Lanka. Owners of domestic labor recruitment bureaus indicated that there are no organizing agreements to recruit from Nepal, Indonesia, and Ethiopia, the latter of which has been disrupted due to the unrest in Addis Ababa. They stressed that Kuwait is no longer an attractive country for domestic workers due to several reasons.
The agencies in the Philippines and other countries prefer contracting with offices in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates because they offer higher financial privileges and controls to preserve labor rights compared to Kuwait. The office owners said, “There are other global markets that recruit domestic workers from the Philippines such as Singapore, Japan, Canada, and the United States. The monthly salaries for domestic workers in these countries are higher than the salary set in Kuwait by more than $ 400 per month.
The domestic labor market is witnessing an increase in demand in exchange for a sharp decrease in the supply of new contracts, given the limited countries from which labor is recruited to work in Kuwait, which led to a rise in recruitment prices. The reasons for this are lack of organizing agreements with the countries exporting domestic labor to the country, except for the Philippines and India. The rest of the countries such as Nepal, Indonesia, and Ethiopia had previously requested the signing of organizing agreements to start exporting their labor to Kuwait. The Ethiopian agreement was on the cusp of signing, but the political crisis that took place in that country led to its delay.
The Kuwait Domestic Workers Union, the Public Authority for Manpower and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exerted extensive efforts to complete the process of that agreement, but it ended up being stalled. In terms of the limited entry of domestic workers and the reluctance of workers coming from the Philippines to work in Kuwait, the problem is not internal in Kuwait. Instead, there are wide offers for this type of labor in neighboring countries and other countries. Contracts are offered to agencies in the Philippines by Saudi Arabia and UAE at better prices