Kuwait is one of the Middle Eastern countries that have benefited from foreign domestic workforce. It is estimated that the foreign domestic workforce forms a third of the country’s total workforce. Despite the essential role these foreign domestic workers play in the lives of the Kuwait citizens, still, they are inhibited from important social benefits such as free education and social healthcare.
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Moreover, the domestic workers that comprises mostly of foreigners from South Asia and Africa are facing abuses and exploitations under the sponsorship program through which they got legal entry into the country. According to various research findings, foreign domestic workers in Kuwait face numerous problems that include none payment of wages, sexual and physical assaults, psychological abuse, excessive long working hours, among other unreported abuses.
Therefore this paper will provide a concise report on the problems these foreign domestic workers are facing in Kuwait. The conclusion that the foreign domestic workers in Kuwait face issues that range from non-payment of wages to long working hours are drawn from the finding that these domestic workers lack legal backing that would help them fight against these abuses.
The Kuwait’s labor legal system does not recognize the foreign domestic workers while the immigration laws forbid them from running away from their work. Besides, the immigration rules have outlawed shifting or leaving the original job without consulting the employer.
On the basis of the findings, it is recommended that the Kuwaiti government should first reform their legal system to recognize and provide protection to the foreign domestic workers. Among the critical legal reforms include repealing the Aliens Residence Law articles that give individual employers control over workers freedom of movement, immigration statuses and the freedom to terminate employment. Also to be included in the legal reforms is the recognition of the foreign domestic workers under the Kuwaiti labor laws.
The paper will first determine the problems faced by these foreign domestic workers and the legal prohibitions that act as obstacles to the realization of their rights.
Then the paper will present the legal findings that will form the basis for recommendations that should be taken by the Kuwaiti government as well as other stakeholders in providing the solutions to the problems faced by the migrant domestic workers. The recommendations will range from the legal reforms to the inclusion of the domestic workers in the labor laws of Kuwait. Finally, the conclusion will be drawn from the recommendations and findings.
The estimate by the World Bank is that over 74 million, approximately half of the total migrants, majorly from the developing countries do not move to the developed countries. Rather, they settle and reside in other developing countries (Motaparthy and Sandler 2).
Such south to south movements are very common in South-Asian countries where most of the migrant workers move and settle in the rich oil states of the Persian Gulf, including Kuwait. Whereas there are differences in the way these migrant workers are treated in these countries, a majority has remained in the low skilled jobs. The female foreign domestic workers make up a third of the total expatriate workforce (Motaparthy and Sandler 3).
In Kuwait, foreign domestic workers play an essential role in almost every Kuwaiti household. Thousands of foreign domestic workers have been found to be working for the Kuwaiti citizens (Motaparthy and Sandler 4). Women make the majority of these foreign domestic workers (Motaparthy and Sandler 4).
While some employers have successfully developed a friendly and caring relationship with domestic workers who do odd jobs such as caring for their children, cooking their meals and clean their homes, others have taken the advantage of the weak legal systems that barely protect the rights of these migrant workers and isolated home environments to abuse the right of their workers (Motaparthy and Sandler 3). Worse off, some workers go for several months without being paid.
It has also been found that among all the categories of the informal sector, the domestic workers earnings are extremely low and they face myriads of problems. Domestic workers are generally employed to carry out household tasks comprising of cleaning the houses, cooking food, washing dishes, clothes, fetching water together with a few outdoor chores such as childcare activities, irregular marketing grocery shopping and even ration drawing (Motaparthy and Sandler 3).
In fact, a majority of these women migrant workers are doing more than one type of job and spend more than the normal time doing their chores. Some are working even past midnight to ensure that they complete their employers’ assignments (Motaparthy and Sandler 4). Comparatively, these women spend more time working for their employers more than they could have spent in their households.
To add in to the woes of these foreign domestic workers, majority of the Persian Gulf governments have weak legal systems that could protect the rights of these migrant workers (Motaparthy and Sandler 4). Countries such as Kuwait have legal policies that further exacerbate the problems of the migrant workers. The Kuwaiti labor laws totally ignore the presence of foreign domestic workers while the legal immigration system prevents migrant workers from changing their jobs and leaving the country without the consent of their employers. As a result, most of the foreign domestic workers have been violently abused and deported without any legal redress.
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Therefore the objective of this report is to examine the problems of these domestic workers in Kuwait and the level in which such problems affect these domestic workers. Also, the paper will examine the legal obstacles faced by these women in order to offer recommendation that should be taken into consideration by the policymakers to ensure that all the foreign domestic workforce in the country are fairly treated according to the international labor organization standards.
Basically, across several fiscal years including 2009, 2010 and 2011, countries that send their domestic labor to the City of Kuwait received manifold complaints. Often, the domestic workers in Kuwait complained to their respective embassies concerning psychological abuse, sexual harassments, physical torture, and undue long hours of work with no rest as well as non-wage payments. There are very little redressing opportunities for the household workforce leading to various offensive cases lingering unstated.
The Kuwait domestic labor law also seems to bar the domestic workers from seeking redress, whereas the migration laws ban the domestic workers from abandoning their particular workplaces without the recruitment agencies consents. There are reported cases of deportation, indefinite detention and criminal charges tied to any domestic worker who quits job without the consent of the recruiting agencies and employers.
Each time, many household workforces are expatriated by the Kuwait administration because they are incapable of successfully following and raising their grievances. Other employers demand that domestic workers desiring to seek alternative employments must reimburse the initial recruitment fees given that they have violated the Kuwait labor regulations. This is done by withholding employment alteration consent and confiscating the passports.
The constitutionally drafted labor law has equally excluded the Kuwait household workforce from the requisite labor protection. The Kuwait sponsoring system for domestic workers spearheads obnoxious status for employment since it holds expatriate workers accountable for quitting employments without the responsible authorities consent and thereby violating laws. It is apparent that the contractual clauses are hardly enforced thus intentionally excluding the domestic workforce from legal protections.
The type of problem, those affected and failure to resolve the problem
The current domestic workers problem that is reported in the Kuwait can be classified as being humanely, moral, legal as well as social. From the Human Rights Watch report, it is apparent that the entire domestic workers populations, the recruitment agencies, Kuwait government, local churches and family members of the abused domestic workers are all affected.
The unionization, the work conditions, the private labor supply and recruitment agencies also face a deteriorating growth. In other cases, the recruitment systems are considerably abused leaving the domestic workforces with diminutive lawful protections.
If Kuwait fails to resolve the looming problems, it is likely to lose the official ties it has with the rest of the world. In fact, Kuwait needs to sincerely demonstrate to the international community that it takes the basic human rights into consideration and that it is committed to the protection of the domestic workers rights.
In case the Kuwait government notes specific migrant domestic workers vulnerability, it is advisable that the government should pursue decisive efforts geared towards ensuring that such workers are effectively protected both in practice and in law against any sort of discrimination. This implies that the Kuwait government ought to warrant that there are effectual access and enforcement of complaint procedures.
This can be realized thru introducing legalized solutions in all member states. The solutions could be inform of increasing household motivations to employ domestic workers who are duly registered, urging workers only to accept legally contracted work and offering provisions in areas like civil laws, labor laws, social insurance and tax.
The government of Kuwait should equally be obliged by the international law to sincerely protect all individuals’ rights and the domestic workers employment affairs irrespective of whether such workers are in possession of legitimate work permits. That is, provided the employment links have been instigated, the government of Kuwait must ensure that engaged domestic worker enjoys all the employment and labor rights until the termination of such relationships.
The provisional domestic labor rights include providing equal remuneration and fair wages for all domestic jobs that offer similar values devoid of discriminating between men and women. There should also be the provision of wellbeing and secure operational setting, rational working hours’ restrictions, vacation and respite hours with compensation through civic and episodic festivals.
Since the domestic workers have the rights of living dignified, peaceful and secure areas, the Kuwait government, the sponsoring agencies and employers must be obliged to warrant the domestic workers physical safety.
In case the employers failed to offer shelters to the domestic workers which would, in turn, warrant their dignity, peace and safety, then the Kuwait government ought to provide some alternatives. To realize these, there must be well-stipulated employment conditions along with ratified application procedures as well as domestic workers social protection by sponsoring agencies, employer and the government (Motaparthy and Sandler 20).
The Kuwait government should draft legislation for domestic workers. The drafted law should have provision establishing workdays’ equivalent to eight hours. The employers must be compelled to offer the domestic workers compulsory annual leaves during periodic and national holidays besides imposing penalties on employers who are reported to remit late salary payments. In fact, the Kuwait employers should be prohibited from recruiting domestic workers thru non-licensed state agencies.
A law should be implanted to burr recruiting or sponsoring agencies and employers from confiscating the domestic workers identity documents or passports. Moreover, there ought to be provisionary enacted laws that prohibit employers from forcing domestic workers to carry out house chores tasks which are not categorically stipulated in the contractual agreement.
To recognize the commonly raised non-payment of wage complaints, the Kuwait government needs to enact a law that requires the entire domestic workforce to set up genuine bank accounts in their respective residential home states before migrating to work in Kuwait.
Such bank accounts or payment systems should be used by the Kuwait government and the domestic workers countries to instruct the prospective employers to monthly or annually deposit the domestic workers salaries into the stipulated bank accounts prior to workers migrations. Thus, the receipts for bank transfers should serve as the justified and acceptable payment proof.
Kuwait should institute laws that lay down adequate procedures through which domestic workers complaints can be arbitrated and whenever they remain in doubt, they should be referred to a legitimate court system. This should warrant that all domestic workers with unresolved complaint cases will be exempted from the arbitration fees.
The Kuwait household workforce legislation must tolerate household workforce to transmit their service provisions devoid of seeking their guarantors’ approvals thru following particular occupation disagreement resolution courses.
The fines that are recruiting agents or the employers pay because of violating the domestic workforce rights and the Kuwait expatriate labor laws ought to be deposited into the state-administered fund which guarantees disbursements to the domestic workers in times of need. For example, in cases where an injustice is eminent and when a domestic worker becomes unwell for quite an elongated time.
Injustice situations include cases where the Kuwait domestic employers benefit unjustly from the services rendered by the workers through failing to remit their wages (Motaparthy and Sandler 35).
Consequently, the unjustified benefits to the employers might accrue from the failure by the employers to terminate or renew the employment contracts devoid of offering the requisite payments for the domestic workers end of service. Finally, effective complaint and monitoring mechanisms should be implemented such as translations services requisite for investigating abusive complaints.
Various alternative solutions have also been proposed that includes
- Strong domestic worker organization should be established with an aim of protecting the domestic workers rights.
- Advocate for the transformation of societal power relations that would ensure gender equality, women empowerment and the observation of human rights including that of the domestic workers.
- Advocate for the accountability and the democratization of the organizations that deal with the rights of domestic worker
- Collaborating and working together with other labor unions
- Ensure that the rights of workers, as well as proper working conditions, are secured through enactments of the proper legislations.
These propose solutions add to the restrictive laws and stringent penalties that will ensure that the rights of the domestic workers are properly observed. They also add to the measures are aimed at preventing abuse by the employees as well as the recruitment agencies of the domestic workers.
In other words, these proposed solutions will ensure security and safety of the domestic workers. In terms of cost, both the Kuwaiti government and the families will suffer. High costs are attributed to financial resources, time and human resources that will have to be spent to ensure that everything is in order. The cost challenge adds to the other challenges such as lack of support from the public, implementation challenges as well as conflict of interests.
For decades, the Kuwait citizens have engaged the household populate emigrant workforce. In fact, the strains for household recruits have sequentially amplified since the fiscal 1965 when just 1000 household immigrant workforce worked in City of Kuwait. The trend began to take a different course in the middle of 1970s when the republic of Kuwait had up-surging revenues from its oil.
This made home workforce from various other states to travel to Kuwait to accomplish the escalating household work strains. By the financial year nineteen eighty nine, total overseas house workforce varying from one hundred thousand to one hundred and thirty thousand was housed by the state of Kuwait. The figure of Kuwait household recruits was accounted to have surpassed six hundred and sixty thousand by the fiscal 2009.
At present, the majority of household women workforces originate from South-East-Asia albeit a mounting sum of African drifters steadily enters into the Kuwait household employment bazaar. When compared to the rest of the Middle East, Kuwait is ranked second after Saudi Arabia in terms of domestic workers employment.
The total domestic labor is in excess of one-third of the entire emigrant workers (Motaparthy and Sandler 23). Whereas domestic workers play significant roles in the Kuwaitis homesteads, there are some lapses in the protection gaps by countries that send their citizens to work in Kuwait.
Protection gaps by the sending countries
Whereas governments that send domestic labor to foreign countries rely on the migrant domestic workers financial contributions in making their local economies, it is reported that such countries take minimal steps when protecting nationals who migrate for domestic work be it during or before their respective migrations.
For instance, domestic workforces migrating to the Kuwait usually do so via the self-governing recruiters or agencies that pay visits to their villages or hometowns and then link them up with the recruitment or sponsoring agencies found in their abode states. The labor agents are bound to arrange for every formality that a migrating worker is required to have, including the signing of the employment contract by the domestic worker.
The weak regulations reported on the side of governments of countries that send their domestic workers to foreign countries such as Kuwait have left most workforces vulnerable to various abuses. These include human trafficking cases, forced confinements, misrepresentation of the contractual terms as well as other kinds of abuses while under the care of recruitment agencies. A report by the Human Rights Watch showed that scores of abuses were faced in the process of recruiting migrant domestic workers.
For example, the Indonesian domestic workers faced forcible confinements in overcrowded local centers for training for months prior to starting their journeys. The domestic workers from Sri Lanka reported that they were deceived about their job locations and working conditions besides being charged illegal recruitment fees (Motaparthy and Sandler 22).
Exploitative practices, namely the misrepresentation of employment terms and the substitution of different employment contracts instead of the ones signed in address nations similarly prepared stages for extra cases of domestic women workers abuses. Furthermore, government officials who are accountable for supervising the Kuwait domestic work have apparently failed to assume their responsibilities, thus causing additional workforce abuse cases.
The sending country governments have also neglected to recognize domestic workers abuses thereby perpetuating such abuses as result of the failure of the existing institution to implement the rights of the workers effectively and the dearth of labor protection rights under the law of Kuwait.
The labor-sending countries diplomats have tried to negotiate with the government of Kuwait concerning the improvement of domestic workers protection and observation of their rights via mechanisms like MOUs and political dialogues. The memorandum of understanding incorporates elements such as paying the domestic workers salaries into their bank accounts, prohibiting the confiscation of domestic workers passports, specifying the weekly rest days and minimum wages.
Nevertheless, the sending countries have failed to appropriately utilize the diplomatic tools for protecting domestic workers in Kuwait. The failure to realize systematic domestic workers protection in Kuwait is attributable to the competing priorities, which include diplomatic cooperation, maintenance of remittance flows and the political pressures intended to maintain domestic workers recruitments.
Legal frameworks pursued by the emigrant domestic workforce
In Kuwait, the work of domestic migrant workforces is regulated through combining weak labor protections and the exceedingly restrictive immigration laws. Indeed, the 1959 Kuwait Alien Residence Law is perceived as the prime law which governs work permits and legal residency for domestic workers. However, lawmakers have incessantly excluded the domestic workforces from the legislative national labor protection.
For example, the Kuwait Interior Ministry updated their standard contract in the financial year 2006 by setting forth most domestic workers obligations upon the employers and the recruitment agencies.
The mandate given to these two bodies include the responsibility of the employer to pay the necessary recruitment fees to the sponsoring agencies. There is very little provision for protecting the domestic workforces while the Kuwait government dismally monitors the well being of domestic workers, and hardly are there effective means for domestic workers to pursue and lodge their complaints.
The Kuwait immigrant domestic workers have their rights protected under the conventional international law body which covers all their distinctive rights either as workers or as individuals.
The national laws of Kuwait equally offer certain protections to the working condition including the forced confinement constitutional protection, banning and prohibiting the recruitment or sponsoring agencies from asking for any fee from the domestic workers in addition to redressing rights in matters pertaining to unlawful offences such as sexual and physical assaults (Motaparthy and Sandler 27).
Pitiable enforcement of the existing domestic legislation, immigration laws and recruitment legislations has however the domestic workforce with very little avenues to seek when encountering hardships in Kuwait. Sometimes, the domestic workers hardly get access to the protections that human rights offer them in their local or domestic laws.
Other legal exclusions or laws tend to violate the commitments of international human rights. Specifically, there are the domestic work exclusions from the labor protection that infringe both labor rights as well as nondiscrimination protections. During the 12th May 2010 Kuwait Universal Periodic Review Session held in Geneva, most delegations observed that the domestic workforce in Kuwait remain barred from the major global labor rights standards such as those which are offered to workforces under the Kuwait labor law sectors.
Obligations of the international human rights
Under the international agreement and universal human rights law, Kuwait is obliged to protect the ratified domestic workers rights within its territorial boundaries from abuses that ensue from the public officers, agency staffs, and the employers.
The treaties and laws similarly compel Kuwait to offer remedies to domestic workers with valid claims and to provide efficient recourse means to domestic workers who claim abuses. Despite the fact that Kuwait is obligated to protect the human rights, it has emerged that the domestic workers lacking valid residential permits or those who abandoned their sponsors face discriminatory treatments when seeking redress (Motaparthy and Sandler 28).
Systems breeding domestic worker exploitation
The domestic labor recruitment sector of Kuwait is dominated by business practices, restraining immigration sponsorship systems and deficient labor protections. These form labor marketplaces where the Kuwait employers have both the freedom and financial incentives for exploiting the domestic workforce with diminutive fear of liability, whereas workforces exercise dismal power over the employment circumstances.
Basically, the recruitment or sponsoring agencies charging the Kuwait employers the primary employment fees that are equated to the domestic workforce yearly remuneration are bound to pass on such expenses illegally to the domestic workforce.
The employers might require any domestic workers who may want to part ways with their respective sponsoring employers to either remit or offer full services or repayment to the new employers. It is also reported that the Kuwait employers could similarly utilize such status advantages to act as the immigration sponsors of the workers to exclusively extort similar reimbursement payments (Motaparthy and Sandler 42).
According to human rights watch reports, it is true that employers and agencies often seek reimbursements with impunities. For instance, habitually the Kuwait employers demand that the domestic workers reimburse payments in order to fund the officially requisite release form needed to transfer the sponsorship for employment. Conversely, the Kuwait employers might demand to return backs the domestic workers’ passports and forcefully agree to let them leave Kuwait.
In some cases, the domestic workers reported that the sponsoring agencies asked them to make payments because they have violated the regulations of Kuwait and any payment reimbursements that employers demand (Motaparthy and Sandler 42).
For instance, an Ethiopian worker by the name Tigit A asserted that the recruitment agencies have rules stipulating that any domestic worker leaving her employment before completing a two years contract while citing abusive conditions are obligated to pay back the recruitment fees (money) as well as traveling ticket.
Employers pay high recruitment fees as they hire the domestic workers, therefore, making others to abuse their sponsorship powers. Generally, the sense that the employers have bought or paid for a domestic worker makes most Kuwait employers to have the feeling that they are unconstrained to handle and treat the workforce whichever way one wishes.
This takes place, especially in the context of poorly and inadequately enforced laws. The treatment assumes many forms ranging from locking the domestic workers inside the houses, sexually harassing them, hitting, insulting, withholding the salaries and demanding them to work longer hours devoid of days off.
Whereas not all employment situations attain these abusive levels, some Kuwait employers have the feeling that denying domestic workers contract agreements and individual rights is justifiable. Employers refuse to accept domestic workers request to terminate the contractual employment, retain their passports and restrict the workers movements.
After domestic workers have completed their two years of service contracts, recruitment agencies tend to facilitate repayments of the recruitment fees workers transfers (Motaparthy and Sandler 43). This is realized by arranging for the sale or return of the Kuwait domestic workforce. Such systems for hiring and returning the Kuwait domestic workers currently constitutes the secondary labor markets where employers hire domestic workforce for a time span of two years or even a few days.
Various key recommendations have been offered to the problems faced by these migrant workers. The key recommendations range from those that are directed to the Kuwaiti governments to those that are directed to the foreign governments whose nationals are working in Kuwait. To the Kuwaiti government, it is recommended that they should first reform their legal system to recognize and provide protection to the foreign domestic workers. Among the key reforms include;
Transforming the sponsorship system, especially removing the job escape provisions as well as including the criminal charges and penalties for those employers who violate the rights of the workers. Besides, the Alien Residence Law should be abolished or adjusted to provide free labor mobility, especially to the foreign domestic workers. This mobility would allow an access to other opportunities without consulting their employers and losing their immigration conditions.
Enact labor legislations that recognize the foreign domestic workers. These legislations must ensure that all the foreign domestic workers are included under the Kuwaiti labor laws. Further, the labor legislation must ensure equal protection of the foreign domestic worker just like any worker under the primary labor laws.
While drafting the legislation, the standard labor right protected by the international labor organization conventions must be taken into considerations or included as part of that legislation. The international labor conventions defines the standardized working conditions, including the number of working hours, holidays as well as the minimum wage requirements. The legislations should be pegged on these conditions.
The recruiting agencies should inform domestic workers about the Kuwait legal requirements, regulations and their obligations. Further, the information and contact details should be made available in case there is need for assistance. It is essential that the information be made in a language that is understandable to the foreign domestic workers.
There is need for the ministry of labor to have extra authority to decisively deal with domestic labor grievances through the application of any available adjudication mechanisms. In addition, those cases that are beyond the labor disputes resolution or arbitration mechanisms should be referred to courts system.
This calls for the repeal of the laws that bar courts from arbitration of such cases. Labor-compliant courts should be established and backed by the legal framework in order to act as a trusted arbiter to most of the domestic workers grievances. Domestic workers who have reported any abuse should also be provided with the earliest opportunity to return to their own countries.
The government should also enact the legal system that prohibits the domestic workers employers as well as the recruiters from confiscating their employees’ passports and put serious penalties on those who have violated this regulation. The legal system should also put in place mechanisms for monitoring the compliance to this regulation as well as measures that should be taken to penalize those recruiters and employers that violate the regulation.
There is also a need for yearly based statistics about the nature and figure of grievances filed with various legal agencies as well as other departments dealing with domestic labor. The yearly bases records show how complaints are resolved and measures that have been taken against the violators of the regulatory laws.
The government should provide financial and any other support to the civil societies that shelter or work hand in hand with immigrant workers whose rights have been violated. However, the conditions of the civil society organizations of protecting the domestic workers must be within the international standards. Moreover, the civil society should be in the forefront in advocating for the rights of these workers.
The taskforce of domestic labor inspection should be created with a duty of ensuring that the working conditions for the domestic workers are within the law. The task force must also ensure that the employers are complying with the regulations that have been put in place. Generally the task force’s main responsibility should be monitoring the legal compliance of the sector.
Finally, the governments are supposed to put in place stringent measures to check the excesses of the agencies dealing with the domestic labor. In the first step towards this mandate, the government should hire more staff to the department of domestic workers as well as any other government-created monitoring agencies. In addition, the government should also create clear guidelines that ensure accountability for any of the agency abuses of the laws put in place.
To the foreign countries whose nationals forms the domestic workers in Kuwait, the following recommendations are proposed. First, the foreign governments should promote and capacitate their embassies as well as the consulate in order to be capable of dealing with the problems of the domestic workers from their original countries.
Most importantly, the foreign embassies in Kuwait should provide assistance to the migrant domestic workers whose rights are constantly being violated by their employers and running away from the hash working conditions.
Secondly, information in regards to the contractual rights, the workers’ rights under the international labor organizations as well as any other information concerning the working conditions should be provided to the domestic workers either by the recruiting agencies or any other international organization dealing with domestic labor. The embassies should provide other assistances such as finance and easy access to travel documents.
Finally, the cases concerning the domestic workers abuses should be brought before the international organizations for further scrutiny by the embassies in these countries. Furthermore, embassies are supposed to be in places where foreign domestic workers who face criminal charges get protection and redress.
The international organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), international labor organization (ILO) and the international organization for migration (IOM) should draft and promote the regional and international resolutions or uniform standards that provide protection to the domestic workers in line with the internationally acceptable labor standards and human rights.
These organizations should also offer technical advice on legal issues concerning domestic workers to the foreign governments together with the government of Kuwait. Moreover, these organizations should work with the Kuwaiti government in the implementation of the legal reforms as well as increasing the public awareness on the domestic workers labor rights together with other agencies that deal with labor issues.
From the report findings, it can be concluded that more than a half a million female migrant workers from South Asia and Africa working in Kuwait face numerous problems ranging from sexual and physical abuses to lengthy working hours without pay.
Majority of these workers are women whose main duties include taking care of the households, taking care of the children, cooking meals and cleaning homes. Even though they play an important role in these households, most of the employers take advantage of the weak legal system to abuse these workers.
More stunning is the lack of legal backing against these abuses. Contrary to the expectations, the Kuwait labor legal system does not recognize the domestic workers while the immigration laws forbid them from running away from their work. Additionally, the immigrant workers are prevented by law from shifting their occupations without their employer’s acceptance.
As a result, most of the foreign domestic workers who have been abused and reported the matter to the authorities have ended up being detained or deported without pay. The studies have also found out that most of the domestic workers have faced immigration charges as a result of fleeing from their employers’ abuses, running away, or changing jobs without their employers’ consent.
The report indicates that many domestic workers who have no chance of seeking legal redress over the abuses are constantly being deported by their various governments. In some instances, workers are forced to reimburse the recruitment cost in case they want to change their jobs. This is done through withholding the workers passports and employers consent to changing the employment. The employers are doing this in total disregard to the government regulations.
Basically, the Kuwaiti government should repeal the Aliens Residence Law articles that allow individual employers control over workers freedom of movement, immigration statuses and the freedom to terminate employment. Fundamental legal reforms should be that which is all-inclusive, implying the recognition of the foreign domestic workers within the Kuwaiti labor laws. These reforms should go beyond enactments and repeals to include the implementation of these laws to ensure equal rights for the domestic workers.
Therefore, if Kuwait fails to resolve the looming problems, it is likely to lose the official ties it has with the rest of the world. In fact, Kuwait needs to sincerely demonstrate to the international community that it takes the basic human rights into consideration and that it is committed to the protection of the domestic workers rights.
Motaparthy, Priyanka, and L. Sandler. Kuwait, Walls at Every Turn: Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers through Kuwait’s Sponsorship System. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010. Print.