Kuwait to regulate domestic workers
The country is planning new rules to protect the rights of sponsors and to help prevent visa trading among domestic workers.
August 12, 2009 2:17 by Aarti Nagraj
Kuwait is planning to impose new regulations on the employment of housemaids, in a move the government says will help protect the rights of sponsors, reports Kuwait Times. According to a study being prepared by the immigration department at the Interior Ministry, a domestic helper in Kuwait cannot transfer his or her visa to a new sponsor for at least two years. The idea is to curb iqama (residency permit) trade and the problem of runaway domestic helpers, says the report.
The study also reportedly states that if any domestic helpers want to leave the country or refuse to work, they or the office that brought them will have to repay their sponsor’s costs. These include the price of the airline ticket, and the fee for hiring a domestic helper – recently raised to KD 700 ($2,435).
Also, if a domestic helper is found to be working for other people, even for a day, he or she will be deported immediately and will not be allowed to return.
According to reports, Kuwait currently has around 700,000 domestic workers, the majority of whom are Asian. Apparently, only two thirds of those laborers are brought to the country legally; the rest come through visa traffickers.
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