Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Planning and Development Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh has affirmed that efforts are ongoing to amend the situation in the labor market, particularly the problems resulting from the so-called ‘visa trading’ phenomenon, reports a local daily. In an interview, she stressed that the ministry will continue to take necessary legal measures against employers who violate Labor Law 6/2006 concerning the private sector, and the resolutions taken to enforce this law.
The minister indicated that the Public Authority for Manpower has been carrying out continuous inspections to ensure the companies registered in the system are not dummy companies, they are practicing licensed activities, and the workforce registered under these companies are actually working there.
She insisted that such procedures are essential for eradicating the phenomenon of visa-trading, revealing that the ministry has already referred some employers to the Public Prosecution after they were found to have violated the law and some others have been referred to the General Investigation Department. Al-Sabeeh explained that the step taken by Public Authority for Manpower in this regard is in accordance with the private sector Labor Law 138, which stipulates sentencing violators of the law to not more than three years in prison or fining them between KD 1,000-KD 5,000, or both.
“These punishments are enforced if it is proven that the suspects brought expatriates into the country without any intention of providing jobs for them. This phenomenon is known as visa trading”, she added. Official statistics indicate that 4,021 files were referred to the investigation department until December 31, 2014, while from January 1, 2015 to April 30, 2015, a total of 552 company files were referred to the investigation department.
Necessary measures have been taken against these employers. In response to the allegations concerning the mean attitude of labor inspectors towards the employers, Minister Al-Sabeeh clarified that the inspectors have undergone thorough training but the ministry will not overlook any transgressions committed by them while they are performing their duties. She revealed about a plan being prepared to develop the inspection mechanism through the use of technology, and to train and rehabilitate inspectors in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration.
Regarding the mechanism of handling labor cases, the minister explained that the Labor Arbitration Department handles all cases related to the rights of the private sector employees by summoning both parties involved in the case. If the department fails to solve the matter, the case is referred to the judiciary. However, the Central Labor Department investigates cases related to transfer of residency or cancellation of work permits. She affirmed that the ministry has never hesitated to take necessary measures against any employee of the ministry who oversteps his/her authority, adding that a team is assigned to investigate such cases and take the required steps to rectify the mistakes.