Chennai: Maids and other domestic workers from India, particularly those in Tamil Nadu large numbers of whom seek employment in the Gulf, will not be able to seek employment in Kuwait, which on Wednesday officially suspended issuing entry visas to Indian domestic workers.
Confirming the move, Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain told TOI over telephone on Wednesday that Kuwait was the only Gulf country that failed to comply with a condition the Indian government requested that foreign employers, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Countries, would be required to pay $2,500 as bank guarantee to hire Indian domestic workers.
Jain had informed Kuwait’s foreign ministry that its government had failed to comply with the condition by which employers sign contracts with Indian domestic workers to guarantee their rights and security, a stipulation that India imposed in light of numerous instances of abuse by their employers in gulf countries.
“We had asked Kuwaiti authorities to stop issuing visas since domestic workers were entering the country illegally and we had no way to track them if faced problems,” Jain said. “Since Kuwait did not want its citizens to provide bank guarantees to ensure the rights of workers, we asked them not to issue visas as middlemen are illegally bringing in workers from India.”
Protector of Emigrants, Chennai, Ajith Kumar said on an average his office daily received three applications for clearance from maids seeking permission to work in Kuwait and around 100 a month. He said the numbers have reduced in recent times and Malaysia has become the most preferred destination for Indian domestic workers.
India in September decided to ask Gulf states to ensure their citizens pay the security deposit after Indian missions in the GCC countries received complaints about unpaid or delayed salaries and harassment. All the other GCC nations accepted the request but Kuwait. Jain held talks on the issue with Kuwaiti officials but they failed to arrive at a consensus.
There are 750,000 Indians, including 270,000 domestic workers, in Kuwait.
In an advisory on its website, the Indian embassy in Kuwait said the bank guarantee would be used “for the repatriation of maids and other unpaid expenses like salary, medical expenses… in case the employer fails to pay” or meet other terms of the employment contract.
There have been several instances of employers failing to pay Indian domestic workers their wages and of them physically and mentally abusing their employees in the Gulf countries. They also often confiscate passports of Indian workers to more effectively wield their authority over them.
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