Philippines to resume sending domestic workers but with conditions
KUWAIT CITY, April 8: According to informed sources, the Philippines will resume sending its workers to Kuwait within weeks, provided that more measures are applied to ensure the safety of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait, reports Al-Qabas daily.
The sources explained that the Philippines has decided to apply in Kuwait a set of measures that are currently in force in some countries. They are aimed at ensuring the safety of its workers, and include imposing strict penalties on recruitment agencies in the Philippines and Kuwait, and preventing sending domestic workers to employers who are not committed to contracts.
The Philippines will specify conditions for those who are allowed to recruit domestic workers through “compliance with the rules and what is stated in the terms of the contracts concluded, taking duly pledges to adhere to ethical and fair employment standards, and the availability of all required licenses in Kuwait or the Philippines.”
There will be strict control by the Kuwaiti offices over their workers employed in Kuwait. Hotline numbers that are active around the clock will be made available. In the event of laxity in this matter, the violating office will be added to the ban list that prevents the recruitment of Filipino workers through the office in the future.
The Philippines will also appoint specialists from the Philippine Labor Office who are qualified for social care responsibility. Their tasks include providing regular reports on the situation of employment in Kuwait and the problems they receive from the domestic workers, giving them the right to direct action to solve them, and providing aid and assistance, and allocating a qualified office to monitor and respond to employment problems.
The Philippines will take further measures against Kuwaiti offices that amount to canceling or suspending the privilege of participating in the employment or recruitment of workers from abroad. They will be placed under surveillance in the event of violations of regulatory laws. Penalties will be applied in the event of licenses being revoked due to violations, or the existence of criminal records registered against the office, its inability to solve employment problems, or if there are more than five pending problems that the office is unable to solve.
The sources said, “Any employer wishing to bring a Filipino worker to work at home will be required to grant the employee the right to possess and access the phone, and possess his/her travel documents.”
In this regard, Bassam Al-Shammari, a specialist in domestic labor affairs, commented on the Philippine stance, saying, “Holding the owner of the office responsible for monitoring labor and imposing penalties on him in the event of failure to solve problems eliminates the role of the Department of Domestic Labor in Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) in terms of following up the labor affairs in the country.
The rules that the Philippines wishes to apply inside Kuwait are applied in many countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, the Kuwaiti contracts include everything that the Philippines requested to ensure the safety of its workers.
There are 200,000 domestic workers in Kuwait currently from the Philippines, 99.4 percent of whom are female workers. The problems faced by 20 percent of them are normal.”
He highlighted that a point of agreement must be reached for activating the role of PAM in carrying out its duty in terms of following up employment issues related to this category instead of the intervention of embassies and offices.
Al-Shammari stressed the need to activate the guarantee system for employers so that there is a refundable amount for the recruiter that represents part of the annual dues, and in the event of non-payment, it can be liquidated in favor of the worker.
He explained that the employment of Filipinos during the past year 2022 increased significantly. Official statistics showed that there are 64,000 Filipino domestic workers who entered the country, and the percentage of those who left is only seven percent. Most of those who left were faced with various challenges that render them to abscond and seek refuge at the Philippine Embassy.
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