The head of the Union of Owners of Domestic Workers’ Recruitment Offices, Khaled Al-Dakhnan, confirmed that the local market had not witnessed the recruitment of domestic workers for nearly 9 months, that is, before the Corona crisis, calling on the relevant authorities to open the door for recruitment visas, while adhering to all health requirements and precautionary measures.

Al-Dakhnan said, in an interview with local Arabic news paper Al-Jarida, that the Corona crisis has caused many offices to close, explaining that the rest of the offices have accumulated debts due to rents and employee salaries.

He pointed out that the price of one maid exceeded 1000 dinars, after it did not exceed 700, pointing out that after the Ministry of Trade determined the recruitment price at 990 dinars, there has become a lack of demand for labor, and neighboring countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, bring in labor at prices higher than Kuwait, which is what He exacerbated our problem, stressing that suicides among domestic workers are few and most of their causes are psychological.

He explained that the Ethiopian workers enter a training camp for 60 days to rehabilitate the social situation in Kuwait … The details of the meeting are as follows:

● How do you see the file of domestic workers, especially in light of the current conditions that the countries of the world and Kuwait in particular are experiencing, and this market suddenly stopped even before the Corona pandemic?

– The domestic worker file is one of the most important vital files, and labor recruitment companies suffer many problems and losses since the establishment of the government company Al-Durra, which has caused an increase in recruitment prices, as one place has been identified for the work of this worker, and it is not allowed to re-operate it again according to the law, which is what made Foreign domestic labor companies in the countries of recruitment raise the price of their recruitment, doubling their commissions, and thus the price of one maid exceeded 1000 dinars, after it did not exceed 700.

Recruitment price

● What about the Ministry of Trade’s decision to set the recruitment price at 990 dinars?

– We support this decision, because it is in the interest of the citizen and Kuwait, but after the issuance of this decision, there has become a lack of demand for labor, and neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE bring in labor at prices higher than Kuwait, which exacerbated the problem of our domestic workers.

● What are the main labor-exporting countries to Kuwait?

– At the present time, Filipino nationality is at the top of the domestic workers scene in the country, then Sri Lankan nationality.

Corona crisis

Did the recruitment of domestic workers stop before or after the Corona pandemic?

– Before the Corona crisis, there was a market crisis represented in the abundance of supply and lack of demand, but the Corona pandemic exacerbated the problem, and made matters worse, as the government stopped bringing workers from any country, and in general the domestic labor market was affected by the crisis of Filipino workers from last December, As Kuwait’s dependence on Filipino workers is 85 percent, and therefore more than 9 months have passed and the labor market is affected and does not meet the citizen’s need, in addition to the recruiting offices affected as well.

Market losses

● How do you estimate the losses in the labor market after this crisis?

– Most of the recruitment offices incurred large losses, including the accumulated debts, due to rents and salaries, and there are many offices that have handed over their licenses to the Public Authority for Manpower, and have canceled their licenses due to his inability to continue in light of this crisis.

● In your opinion, what are the reasons that led to this, the circumstances or the lack of government support?

– The current circumstances have affected everything in the country, but the government is supposed to support recruitment agencies until the problem ends, or work permits and the recruitment system are opened like the rest of the countries, so Bahrain opened its field for recruitment a week ago, and there are reports of Saudi Arabia’s resumption of labor recruitment, and the method of recruitment Simple, since the beginning of the crisis, we have been in contact with foreign unions remotely, and we have come up with how to bring workers, for example, from the Philippines, the most organized country, to Kuwait, and therefore we are calling on the health and government authorities to allow the recruitment of workers according to health requirements.

Citizen’s interest

● Did you approach a responsible authority in the country to fulfill your requests?

– Yes, we addressed the Council of Ministers and more than one side, and unfortunately there is no response to our demands, which harms the interest of the citizen who needs this employment.

● Is it possible for Al-Durra governmental company to bring in domestic workers?

A: No, recruitment has been dependent on all companies since the beginning of the crisis.

Filipino employment

● In your opinion, what distinguishes Filipino workers from others, occupying 85 percent of domestic workers in Kuwait?

– More than one reason for this, because the Philippines is still exporting its labor until now, because this is one of its sources of income and the lack of job opportunities for it, and in the last ten years India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have been exporting labor, but these countries are now satisfied, and they no longer export labor, but provide for these Employment local job opportunities.

● Does this portend the lack of domestic workers in the coming years?

– Yes, this will happen if the government does not turn to African countries to bring in from them, as they are countries that have huge numbers of workers and prices and salaries are lower than Asian workers.

● Why is the labor market heading for African and Asian countries, not foreign, whether Latin or English?

It is difficult for poor eastern European workers to adapt to Kuwaiti society, and we did not try to do that because we have experience with this matter. East Asia is the one that covers the Gulf’s need for domestic workers.

Work agreements

● Is there a legal impediment to recruiting workers from countries such as Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, or is it the direction of the offices themselves?

– There are no work agreements for domestic workers signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and such agreements must be activated, especially since the worker in Kuwait obtains all rights, and therefore the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today has to conclude agreements and open more than one market for recruitment, such as Nepal and Ethiopia.

● There is a selectivity for African countries with regard to recruitment, so what is the obstacle to recruiting workers from countries such as Egypt and Morocco, which are located in the Black Continent?

– In Africa, there are workers that are in line with Kuwaiti society and others are not, and there are countries that export labor, but there are no agreements between them and Kuwait, such as Madagascar, because its workers are polite and educated.

Ethiopian ‘violence’

● Do you take into account the cultural, moral and social issues when recruiting Ethiopian workers, especially after the spread of violence and beating cases among them?

– The last visit to Ethiopia before the Corona crisis, we were briefed about labor training camps with the latest equipment, as workers remain in the training camp for about 60 days to fully study the social situation in Kuwait.

black market

● The “BBC” published a report 3 months ago in which it stated that Kuwait is abusing or trading in domestic workers … What is your comment as a union on this matter?

We addressed the “workforce” repeatedly regarding advertisements for domestic workers on social media, which really offends Kuwait and opens a black market for labor, and it is one of the results of the labor law that prevents employment of more than one person, and therefore the office cannot recover the labor and from here the sponsor starts Marketed.

● Did you move after this report and address the concerned authorities?

– Before the release of this report, he addressed more than one side, and warned us a lot about these inhumane matters, and demanded us to prevent this dangerous phenomenon, and to review the Law 68 on Employment.

100 offices

● How many offices does the union have?

– The union includes from 90 to 100 offices, and participation in the union is optional, not compulsory, and we ask the government to support the union or at least consult it in any step related to domestic workers, because of its expertise in this field.

● What are your arrangements and your preparations in case the government opens the field for recruitment again, will the country face pressure, and for how long will it last?

Of course, pressure will arise, and the longer the opening for recruitment is delayed, the greater the problem, and therefore we demand the government to expedite the opening of visas.

Suicides

● What about the labor suicides that have increased in the recent period?

Suicides among domestic workers are few, and usually for psychological reasons.

● Does the examination of the leadership employment of Kuwait include the psychological and mental aspect?

– The workers are fully examined, both health and psychological.Opening new countries to bring in labor by signing work agreements

Al-Dakhnan called on the government to support the Union and help it open new countries to bring in labor, such as Indonesia, Uganda and most African countries, saying: We are currently recruiting from almost one country, the Philippines, while India and Sri Lanka are very few, and the day may come when the Philippines does not export its workers to Kuwait either to be satisfied. And either to export it to other countries.

He continued: Here, the citizen may find himself without domestic workers unless the government moves and opens areas for recruitment from multiple countries by signing work agreements

Source : https://www.aljarida.com/articles/1600707888008699900/