Chargé d’Affaires at the Philippines Embassy, Jose A. Cabrera III, met with Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Asia Affairs Ambassador Sameeh Issa Johar Hayat, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, on 9 February, to discuss various aspects of the decision by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) of the Philippines to defer the deployment of first-time Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) coming to work as domestic helpers in Kuwait.
Ambassador Hayat expressed disappointment with the DMW decision and conveyed the desire of the Kuwaiti government to resolve the matter as soon as possible in an amicable manner.
For his part, Mr. Cabrera said that the DMW has indicated that the deferment applies only to domestic workers who have not yet been previously employed in Kuwait and are being deployed to Kuwait for the first-time. He added that the DMW is studying reforms and measures to strengthen measures and mechanisms that help ensure the welfare and safety of domestic workers, particularly those working in Kuwait for the first time.
They also discussed the schedule for the Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) between the two countries that is provided for under the 2018 agreement on the employment of domestic helpers to Kuwait. They agreed that the friendship between the Philippines and Kuwait should be strengthened through increased cooperation and that all concerns should continue to be addressed in an expeditious and amicable manner to achieve mutually acceptable results.
In a related news, the head of the Kuwaiti Union for the Recruitment of Domestic Workers, Khaled Al-Dakhnan, said the government of the Philippines stopping the deployment of first-time domestic workers to Kuwait was an expected decision in light of various happenings in recent times that this category of workers suffer from without any real and lasting solutions by the concerned authorities in Kuwait.
He added that the recent murder was one of the main reasons for the moratorium decision, but it was not the only reason for the decision. He noted that the Philippine embassy had recently expressed its deep dissatisfaction with the accumulation of Filipino domestic workers in rescue shelters maintained by the government, with approximately 485 domestic workers having to stay there due to problems they suffered from their employers. But the government has so far not offered any effective and speedy resolution to the problems of these workers.
Al-Dakhnan continued: “Unfortunately, in these cases, the labor recruiting office is not summoned to attend the investigation, while it is summoned only at the time of paying the workers’ travel tickets. The repatriation expenses and other losses are borne by the Kuwaiti and Philippines labor recruiting offices, but they have no say in the discussions between the employer, worker, the government and other entities.