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Shortage of maids, Kuwait scrambles to find solutions
April 8, 2018, 2:44 pm

Reeling from a shortage of female domestic workers, Kuwait’s foreign and interior ministries have sprung into action seeking prompt solutions to the predicament of their citizens. Kuwait is in contact with 11 embassies to coordinate the hiring of workers to reinvigorate the local market, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al Jarallah told local Arab media last week adding that the contacts are part of the steps taken to help address challenges in recruiting domestic helpers.

On Tuesday, Interior Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs Sheikh Mazen Al Sabah announced the lifting of a ban on hiring Ethiopian domestic workers after a series of meetings with representatives from the Ethiopian government. Rashed Al Hajeri, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, told Kuwait News Agency that he held talks with Ethiopian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdul Fettah Abdulahi on the terms for dispatching domestic workers to Kuwait. However, the Kuwaiti authorities said they wanted applicants from the African nation to undergo a psychological test. “I have asked the Ethiopian minister to subject those willing to work in Kuwait – namely in houses – to receive training at habilitation centres and to undergo psychological tests to avert the recurrence of some of the negative (incidents) that had led Kuwait to stop bringing in Ethiopian workers previously,” Hajeri said.

The ambassador and the Ethiopian official are working out a new deal for employment of Ethiopian citizens in Kuwait and a copy will be presented to the competent Kuwaiti authorities in the coming days. A delegation from the Ethiopian ministries of labour and foreign affairs will visit Kuwait very soon to finalize the accord, Kuna said. In January, Kuwait’s female domestic market was hit after the Philippines stopped sending workers following reports that abuse by employers that had driven several Filipinos to suicide. The decision, involving thousands of helpers, sparked a crisis in Kuwait, prompting all the state agencies to seek prompt solutions.

Two years ago the Indian government also stopped Indian maids from coming to Kuwait after the Kuwait government refused to accept a new procedure of collecting a bank guarantee of KD 750.000 (seven hundred and fifty) for Indian house maids. The bank guarantee demand was lifted late last year but the procedure has still not been put in place for recruitment. Nepal has also issued a temporary ban to review and put in new procedures for recruitment of domestic help, while Indonesia has altogether banned their workers from coming as domestic help to Kuwait. There are approximately 750,000 domestic helpers in Kuwait which comprise almost 20 per cent of the entire population and almost 60

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