Kuwait recruitment agencies prepare for Manila decision on domestic helpers

September 6, 2011

Recruitment agency owners in Kuwait are bracing themselves for a probable decision by the Philippines to ban Filipino domestic helpers in the country.

The Philippine embassy in Kuwait however said that it did not have new information on the news published by Philippine media on the ban proposed by the Philippines’ Department of foreign Affairs.

An article published in the Philippine press on September 2 said that the Philippines may soon impose ban on Filipino domestic helpers bound to Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates on the grounds that the three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries failed to comply with the Republic Act (RA) 10022 or the Amended Migrant and Overseas Filipino Workers Act of 1995.

Protection of workers’ rights

Section three of RA states the Philippines will allow deployment only if the host country has existing labour and social laws protecting the rights of workers, is a signatory to and/or a ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers; and has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government on the protection of the rights of OFWs.

“I will need to consult the department to verify the issue,” David Des Dicang, the Labour Attaché in Kuwait, told Al Watan daily.

Rosalinda Baldoz, the Philippines’ Secretary of Labour and Employment, said that she was not aware of any resolution made by Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) board that bans deployment of Filipino domestic helpers to Kuwait.


“The Department of Foreign Affairs has submitted a recommendation based on RA 10022, but it would need to be discussed. Should the board decide to ban deployment based on RA 10022, then it has to become into effect,” Baldoz said.

The source said that in 2010, the total deployment of domestic helpers totalled 96,583, with Hong Kong being the top destination. Kuwait ranked second with 21,554 Filipino domestic workers followed by UAE with 13,184, while Qatar was fifth with 9,937.

Recruitment agency owners told the Kuwaiti daily that the non-deployment of Filipino domestic helpers would have a negative effect on the industry. However, as company owners who run their businesses, they will hire from other countries that are willing to deploy to Kuwait.

Other nationals

“Most of the recruitment agencies have diversified its human resources to hiring other nationals, a Kuwaiti employer said.

“The market is definitely affected, but not to the point where recruitment agencies will have no option but to stop operations. We also need to secure our companies by looking for other sources and be able to provide for the need of local employers, who require house helpers,” he said, quoted by Al Watan.

According to another employer, the companies “have a need to fill and satisfy in a market which is partly dependent on domestic helpers.

Kind-hearted employers

“I believe that there are in Kuwait very good, generous and kind-hearted employers contrary to local news that sensationalise isolated cases. Losing in the market hardworking Filipinos will definitely create a void, but again for us business as usual,” he said.

Ahmad, a recruitment agency owner, said that the processing of documents and papers to bring a Filipino domestic helper to Kuwait has been a regular source of complaints.

“It is costly and lengthy and to top it all, many of the applicants are not as experienced as they claim to be in their resumes. Such irregularities affect the credibility of the agency in the market and eventually result in higher number of absconding employees’ cases,” he said.

“Whichever way it is, we as agency owners are at losing ends. We have moved on to hire other nationals and so far they have been well received by Kuwaiti households and by the time Manila decides to stop deployment, Kuwait market will not be affected by a shortage of workers,” Ahmad said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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