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And Greed Goes On

Badrya Darwish

Badrya Darwish

Domestic helper visas have been an issue in Kuwait for many years, and when at last we heard good news that the parliament was supporting a bill to reform the system, we were delighted. The idea was to form a company 25 percent owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority, 25 percent by the pension fund and the rest by the public.

This would have stopped the greed of the maid agencies which has reached unacceptable levels. In the past, to recruit a domestic servant - be it a driver, maid, nanny, cook or gardener - it wouldn’t exceed KD 350 to KD 400. Filipinos would cost more, like KD 450 or KD 500. Don’t ask me why that was the case - I’m not here to discuss this discrimination at the moment.

Now, to recruit a Filipina housemaid you have to pay nearly KD 1,000. And I was told by many helpers that they also have to pay the agent in the Philippines at least two months’ salary once they get the job, or they will not be selected for jobs in the Gulf. Imagine! What do you call this? Isn’t this human trafficking? And if you aren’t happy with the worker and return her to the recruitment agency, they will be more than happy because they will sell her again and take another KD 1,000, and it goes on and on.

So may I know why the government represented by KIA and the Interior Ministry rejected the proposal? Do they have an alternate plan? Or will employers and employees keep suffering and be sucked dry by the recruiting agencies? The whole system is corrupt and unjust. And when there was a light, it was snuffed out without clear reasoning. There are so many other things to criticize about maid recruitment.

I can write a book about it. Because the poor soul, even if we choose her, doesn’t have the right to say yes or no. But this is another issue, and I’m jumping away from the recruiting greed.

By Badrya Darwish

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This article was published on 13/04/2015