A decree has been issued to approve a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the governments of Kuwait and India on cooperation on the employment of domestic labor.

A local Arabic daily says Article One of the decree reads: Approval of the memorandum of understanding between the government of the State of Kuwait and the government of the Republic of India on cooperation on hiring domestic workers, signed in Kuwait City on June 19, 2021.

Article Two: The ministers — each within its jurisdiction — shall implement this decree, and the prime minister shall report it to the National Assembly, and it shall come into effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

The agreement includes a number of important items as follows:

Article 1: Purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding.

This memorandum aims to protect the rights of both domestic workers and employers, and to regulate the contractual relationship between them.

Article 2: Areas of cooperation between the two parties

The parties agreed to:

1 – The two parties agreeing that the term domestic work means every male and female who is assigned manual work inside private homes (and the like) for individuals according to the written contract and will include, but not limited to, working in the areas of cooking, cleaning, gardening, and caring for children, the elderly and the sick, people with special needs and driving vehicles.

2 – Working to reduce the costs of recruiting domestic workers in both countries.

3 – Ensuring the recruitment of domestic workers directly or through employment agencies, offices or companies that have been licensed/registered by the government of both countries in accordance with the model of the right to recruit domestic workers approved under Kuwaiti law.

4 – Granting the contracting parties the right to refer to the competent authorities within a fixed time frame in the event of a contractual dispute determined by the two parties in accordance with the applicable laws.

5 – Taking legal measures against offices, companies or agencies working in the field of recruiting and sending domestic workers home in case of violation of laws in both countries.

6 – Ensuring that offices, companies or agencies working in the field of recruiting and sending domestic workers in both countries do not receive any fees, deduct any recruitment costs, or illegally impose any kind of deductions from the salary of domestic workers.

7 – Strengthening harmony between the employer and domestic workers on the basis of mutual recognition of the right to work with dignity and in their respective cultures.

Article 3: Obligations of the First Party

1 – Ensuring that the recruitment and use of domestic workers under this MoU should be in accordance with the relevant laws, regulations and decisions in the host country.

2 – Ensure that the care and rights of domestic workers working in the State of Kuwait are promoted and protected in accordance with the laws, regulations and decisions of the host country.

3 – Ensuring the validity and implementation of the work contract that must protect the rights and obligations of both the employer and the domestic worker, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws, regulations and decisions in force in the host country.

4 – Seeking to facilitate a quick settlement of cases of violations of domestic labor contracts filed with the competent Kuwaiti authorities.

5 – Facilitating the opening of a bank account by the employer in the name of the domestic worker in order to deposit his/her monthly salary as stipulated in the work contract, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in the state of Kuwait.

6 – Facilitating the procedures for returning the domestic worker to his country upon completion of the contract, in emergency situations, or whenever the need arises, except in the case of those who are required to implement judgments or decisions issued by investigation or judicial authorities.

7 – Ensuring that the employer provides food, housing and clothing for the domestic worker and bears the costs of registering him/her in the health insurance system that covers treatment in the event of illness or injury due to work, as well as the obligation to compensate for work injuries and transfer the body of the deceased to his/her country in the event of the worker’s death and payment of the month’s wages in which the worker died and other rights stipulated in Kuwaiti laws.

8 – Ensuring that the aggrieved domestic worker obtains the services of the Domestic Labor Department to settle any dispute that arises between the contracting parties, provided that the Department works to settle the dispute within a maximum period of three months from the date of submitting the complaint.

If a settlement is not reached, the dispute shall be referred to the competent court to consider the case within 30 days from the date of referral.

The litigants must be notified at least two weeks before the date of the hearing in all cases related to the domestic worker, provided that the domestic worker is exempted from judicial fees before all levels of litigation.

9 – Ensure that the employer does not retain the passport of the domestic worker, as the passport of the domestic worker is owned by the Government of the Republic of India under its law, and should not be in the possession of the employer except with the consent of the domestic worker.

10 – Ensure that the runaway domestic workers are covered by insurance for an initial period of six months against the cost of return tickets and unpaid wages, if any.

Article 4: Obligations of the Second Party

1 – Ensuring that domestic workers meet the requirements of health examination and are free from all infectious or transmitted diseases, and that comprehensive medical examinations are conducted through reliable medical centers approved by the Government of the State of Kuwait in the Republic of India.

2 – Ensuring that the domestic worker submits a police clearance report issued by the competent authorities in India, proving that the domestic worker is free of any criminal record and that he/she is of good conduct.

3 – Requiring the domestic workers to abide by the Kuwaiti laws, morals, customs and traditions throughout their stay in the State of Kuwait.

4 – Facilitate the procedures for deporting domestic workers that contravene the contractual terms in force in the State of Kuwait.

5 – Seeking to put in place procedures/mechanisms to facilitate the arrival and departure of domestic workers to/from the State of Kuwait.

Article 5: Settlement of disputes

Any dispute that may arise from the transfer and implementation of this MoU will be settled by both parties amicably through diplomatic channels.

Article 6: The Joint Committee

A joint committee shall be formed, consisting of representatives of both parties, which shall:

1 – Periodically review, follow-up and evaluate the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.

2 – Hold annual meetings or whenever the need arises or at the request of one of the parties, alternately in both countries, provided that the date of the committee’s meeting is agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

3 – Resolving disputes arising from the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Memorandum of Understanding.

4 – Recommending amendments or additions of protocols to this Memorandum of Understanding, with words as necessary.

Article 7: Effectiveness, Amendments, Validity and Duration

1 – This Memorandum of Understanding shall enter into force on the date of the last notification in which either party notifies the other in writing through diplomatic channels that it has fulfilled the national legal requirements necessary for its enforcement.

2 – This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended with the written consent of both parties, and these amendments shall enter into force in accordance with the applicable legal procedures mentioned in Clause No. 1 of this Article.

3 – This Memorandum of Understanding shall remain in force for a period of 5 years and shall be automatically renewed for a similar period or periods unless one of the two parties notifies the other in writing and through diplomatic channels of its desire to terminate it six months prior to the date of its expiry.

4 – The termination of this memorandum will not prejudice the implementation of the existing activities that work began on their implementation before that, until their completion, unless the two parties agree otherwise.

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