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Hitches delay arrival of Filipino maids

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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 15: The Labor Attache of the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuwait Nasser Mustafa revealed that the embassy has worked on increasing the share of domestic labor recruitment offices from 120 applications for each office per month to 200 applications, reports Al-Qabas daily. This was revealed during a meeting of the Union of Domestic Labor Recruitment Offices with the relevant authorities, especially the embassies of the labor-exporting countries. During the first meeting, which was attended by representatives of dozens of recruitment offices and Consul Mustafa, the attendees presented their requests, and some of the obstacles they faced in finding solutions. Head of the union Khaled Al-Dakhnan revealed that there are some technical issues pending between the recruitment offices in Kuwait and the Embassy of the Philippines in the country, and that these issues must be resolved. He said the union is expecting the response of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry in the next few days concerning the agreement that is yet to be signed to start recruiting domestic workers from there.

Meanwhile, the Philippine labor attache explained that there are challenges facing the recruitment of domestic workers from the Philippines, most notably the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no problems related to the salaries of Filipino domestic workers, as the specified salary is KD 120 per month, and any increase in the salary will be in the interest of the worker. Furthermore, the union’s advisor Abdulaziz Al-Ali insisted that the cost of KD 890 specified by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for recruiting a domestic worker is not feasible, because the costs involved in the recruitment process in light of the COVID-19 crisis are constantly rising, especially since foreign recruitment offices are responsible for transporting the worker and allocating them to the designated employer, as well as cater for the medical expenses if the worker is found sick. Al-Ali said, “Among the most prominent challenges in the recruitment process are the continuous closures in the Philippines, and the low percentage of foreign recruitment offices compared to the neighboring countries; for instance, the value of contracts in Saudi Arabia is the equivalent of KD 2,200”.

He called for communication and cooperation between the Embassy of the Philippines and Kuwaiti government agencies in order to resolve any obstacles quickly with the involvement of offices in the matter. Al-Ali stressed that the recruitment process has changed for the worse, which must be understood by employers (sponsors), revealing that the cost price for one contract is KD 750 with direct transfer to the Philippines, excluding costs associated with office rents, the employee salaries and profit rates, while there is an obligation from the Ministry of Commerce which amounts to KD 890. He indicated that the percentage of contracts that are canceled out of every 50 applications is 15 percent, which renders losses to offices related to wasting of time and effort without any financial benefit, in addition to the sponsor’s failure to pay tickets to the works, which stops the office services at the embassy. In addition, Mahmoud Al-Sarraf, the owner of one of the recruitment agencies, said the fl ights of Filipina workers from their homes and the way to deal with these cases are the most prominent challenges facing the owners of the recruitment offices. Al-Sarraf said, “There is a problem with the new contracts as well, which is the failure to vaccinate female workers in the Philippines. This delays their arrival in the country, especially since there is a possibility to attend directly without using Bisalama eplatform, if they have received the vaccine”.

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