Domestic labor recruitment offices in the country complain that the prices set by the government are not realistic and need to be revised. Earlier the government had set the cost of hiring domestic workers from abroad at a maximum of KD990 dinars through recruitment offices, and KD390 if the domestic workers are hired directly by the Kuwaiti employer.
Affirming the new rules, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) noted that regulations oblige recruitment offices to guarantee that domestic workers hired through them will work for a minimum period of six month. During this period, if there is any obstacle preventing the domestic worker from being employed at the house of the sponsor, the recruitment office will have to refund the employer, and ensure the domestic worker returns to their country of origin.
The two government entities said they were keen to reduce the financial burden on citizens and expatriates, and urged the public to report any recruitment offices if they insist on charging higher prices than that fixed by the ministry. The MoCi has set up a hotline on the telephone number 135 for this purpose, or the authorities at PAM can be contacted through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
They stressed that “we will not hesitate to enforce the law towards those who exploit the office licenses to bring domestic workers in a way that is in violation of the active laws.”
However, domestic labor recruitment office owners have refuted the prices fixed by the government saying that the cost of bringing in new domestic workers ranges from KD1,480 for workers from the Philippines to KD1,370 for Indian workers, while the cost of hiring domestic helpers from Bangladesh, Nepal or Sri Lanka is around KD 1,405.
Recruitment office owners point out that while they are responsible for payments worth KD990 to hire a worker from the Philippines, the National Aviation Services (NAS) charges an additional KD490 to facilitate the entry of the worker through the BelSalamah.com portal.
They added that as recruitment offices are the guarantees of the contract, they will have to bear the financial cost and potential losses if the worker decides to return before the six month trial period, as the sponsor could ask for a refund of the KD990 paid to the offices.
Moreover, they note that there is the problem of two weeks in quarantine, which is lost time, since the work period is considered to begin with the domestic worker’s arrival in Kuwait and not from the start of work at the employer’s house.
In addition, countries sending domestic workers are also reluctant to send workers due to the ongoing pandemic, which increases the risk of workers ending their contract before the six month trial period with the sponsor.
Under these circumstances, the owners expressed their doubt about whether even the government set quota of 100 domestic workers per week per recruitment office could be fulfilled. The lower number of recruitments would lead to reduced profits and higher costs for the recruitment offices, said the office owners, while calling for a revision in the prices fixed by the authorities.