News/India-Kuwait: India bans domestic workers going to Kuwait due to abuse

New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

Subject: News/India-Kuwait: India bans domestic workers going to Kuwait due to abuse
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Mar 07 2000 - 10:02:03 EST


India bans domestic workers going to Kuwait due to abuse
Luke Phillips
Agence France Presse, March 1, 2000

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) -- India has banned its nationals from going to work in
Kuwait as domestic staff because of maltreatment at the hands of
unscrupulous agents, the Indian embassy announced Wednesday.

"This restriction has been imposed by the Indian government based on
information received from some of the 100,000-plus Indian domestic workers
living in Kuwait," an embassy official told AFP.

"Complaints to human rights organisations in India highlighted the
difficulties faced by Indian domestics working here. They did not receive
proper treatment from either the Indian or Kuwaiti agents," he said, on
condition of anonymity.

"There was a hue and cry about widescale abuses in the Indian media last
May, and the Indian government ordered a crackdown on recruitment agencies
in June.

"Domestic workers seeking fresh residency permits in Kuwait will not get
immigration clearance for the time being. Those with valid residency visas,
however, can come and go as they please," he said.

Foreigners can only live or work in this oil-rich Gulf emirate under the
sponsorship of a Kuwaiti national, a privilege which can cost up to
thousands of dollars.

This agent then advertises on flyers cheap foreign labour starting at 30
dinars (100 dollars) a month. Domestic helpers, drivers and shepherds can
easily be found within 10 days of contacting an agency.

Kuwait in December declared war on visa traffickers and is planning to
scrap its "sponsorship" system following riots by disenfranchised Egyptian
workers in late October.

Most of the Egyptian protesters were labourers brought to Kuwait at
extortionate prices by "visa traders" who reneged on promises of work on
their arrival in the Gulf state.

And Planning Minister Mohammad al-Dweihees said the emirate is to cut down
on unskilled expatriate labourers to achieve a "demographic balance"
between foreigners and the outnumbered Kuwaiti nationals.

He has recommended "the control of recruitment of foreign manpower,
particularly domestic helpers whose numbers have reached 256,000."

Kuwaiti nationals represent just 34.6 percent of the total population of
2.27 million.

The largest expatriate community in the emirate is from India, numbering
more than 285,000, followed by 274,000 Egyptians. Bangladeshis, Pakistanis,
Sri Lankans, Iranians and Arab nationals also have sizeable communities in
Kuwait.

Such is the popularity of domestic helpers that the Kuwaiti government
allows households to employ as many as three foreign workers before the
employer has to pay an annual charge of 50 dinars (165 dollars) for health
care.

But several dozen Asian workers commit suicide in the Gulf states each
year, many of them to escape unscrupulous employers or to avoid the shame
of returning home empty-handed.

India bans domestic workers going to Kuwait due to abuse
Luke Phillips
Agence France Presse, March 1, 2000

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) -- India has banned its nationals from going to work in
Kuwait as domestic staff because of maltreatment at the hands of
unscrupulous agents, the Indian embassy announced Wednesday.

"This restriction has been imposed by the Indian government based on
information received from some of the 100,000-plus Indian domestic workers
living in Kuwait," an embassy official told AFP.

"Complaints to human rights organisations in India highlighted the
difficulties faced by Indian domestics working here. They did not receive
proper treatment from either the Indian or Kuwaiti agents," he said, on
condition of anonymity.

"There was a hue and cry about widescale abuses in the Indian media last
May, and the Indian government ordered a crackdown on recruitment agencies
in June.

"Domestic workers seeking fresh residency permits in Kuwait will not get
immigration clearance for the time being. Those with valid residency visas,
however, can come and go as they please," he said.

Foreigners can only live or work in this oil-rich Gulf emirate under the
sponsorship of a Kuwaiti national, a privilege which can cost up to
thousands of dollars.

This agent then advertises on flyers cheap foreign labour starting at 30
dinars (100 dollars) a month. Domestic helpers, drivers and shepherds can
easily be found within 10 days of contacting an agency.

Kuwait in December declared war on visa traffickers and is planning to
scrap its "sponsorship" system following riots by disenfranchised Egyptian
workers in late October.

Most of the Egyptian protesters were labourers brought to Kuwait at
extortionate prices by "visa traders" who reneged on promises of work on
their arrival in the Gulf state.

And Planning Minister Mohammad al-Dweihees said the emirate is to cut down
on unskilled expatriate labourers to achieve a "demographic balance"
between foreigners and the outnumbered Kuwaiti nationals.

He has recommended "the control of recruitment of foreign manpower,
particularly domestic helpers whose numbers have reached 256,000."

Kuwaiti nationals represent just 34.6 percent of the total population of
2.27 million.

The largest expatriate community in the emirate is from India, numbering
more than 285,000, followed by 274,000 Egyptians. Bangladeshis, Pakistanis,
Sri Lankans, Iranians and Arab nationals also have sizeable communities in
Kuwait.

Such is the popularity of domestic helpers that the Kuwaiti government
allows households to employ as many as three foreign workers before the
employer has to pay an annual charge of 50 dinars (165 dollars) for health
care.

But several dozen Asian workers commit suicide in the Gulf states each
year, many of them to escape unscrupulous employers or to avoid the shame
of returning home empty-handed.

Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
__________________
Stop-traffic is facilitated, international electronic list
funded by the Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)
dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
_________________
Stop-Traffic archive:
http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/stop-traffic/1999/
_________________

To subscribe, please send an email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message, write:
subscribe STOP-TRAFFIC <Your Name>
Inserting your real name (without brackets <>) after STOP-TRAFFIC.
___________________
To unsubscribe, send email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message write:
unsubscribe STOP-TRAFFIC
_________________________
To send a message to STOP-TRAFFIC, email:
stop-traffic@friends-partners.org
_________________________
To receive stop-traffic in digest form, please send an email to
listproc@friends-partners.org
Leave the subject blank. In the body of your message, write:
set STOP-TRAFFIC mail digest
ListProcessor receives your request, changes the mail status to digest and
returns a message to you about the change.


New Message Reply Date view Thread view Subject view Author view Other groups

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a22 : Tue Mar 07 2000 - 10:02:21 EST