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Kuwait, Philippines row could reignite over new worker guarantee

Kuwait, Philippines row could reignite over new worker guarantee

The Philippines has reportedly added a new condition to May’s labour deal requiring a deposit for each worker

Just two months after Kuwait and the Philippines ended a row over the treatment of workers by signing a labour deal there is a new point of contention between the two sides, according to reports.

In February, the Philippines banned its workers from being deployed to Kuwait after a series of abuse cases were highlighted by President Rodrigo Duterte including that of a maid, whose body was found in a freezer.

Read: Philippines enacts ‘total ban’ on citizens working in Kuwait

Discussions then began towards the labour deal in March but seemed in jeopardy after Kuwait accused the Philippine Embassy in the country of breaching its sovereignty by conducting illegal worker rescue operations.

The Gulf country expelled the Philippine ambassador prompting Duterte to say he would make the work ban permanent on April 29.

However, the two sides eventually reached an agreement, which included the right for Philippine workers to keep their mobile phones and passports and a 24/7 hotline to report abuse, and the ban on skilled and domestic worker deployment was lifted shortly after.

Read: Philippines lifts Kuwait domestic worker ban after row

Kuwait Times cited the chairman of Domestic Labor Office Owners Khalid Al-Dakhnan as saying on Saturday that authorities in the Philippines recently issued an executive decision regarding the implementation of the deal and added a new condition.

This mandates that Kuwaiti domestic labour offices deposit $10,000 in insurance to any local bank in the Philippines for each Filipino worker recruited to pay dues if the worker returns home before concluding the contract, isn’t paid or any other complaint.

Dakhnan said the insurance deposit would be increased to $50,000 per worker if there are repeated complaints against the labour office.

Similar conditions have previously received a hostile reception in Kuwait.

The Gulf country banned the recruitment of female Indian domestic workers after the Indian government introduced a $2,500 bank guarantee requirement across the Gulf Cooperation Council in November 2014 due to concerns that some workers were not being paid by their employers.

The ban was only lifted last September after the requirement was removed.

Read: Kuwait lifts ban on Indian maid recruitment

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