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Ban on Indian workers looms as spat escalates – Meeting to resolve maid guarantee dispute fails

KUWAIT: A threat to ban the recruitment of Indian laborers into Kuwait may be implemented as soon as today after a high-level diplomatic meeting failed to resolve the dispute over an Indian decision to impose a $2,500 (KD730) bank guarantee for Indian domestic helpers working overseas, informed sources said. The meeting took place between Indian ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain and officials from the foreign and interior ministries, during which the issue was discussed at length.

Assistant undersecretary for passports and residency Maj Gen Mazen Al-Jarrah was present at the meeting. Jarrah has repeatedly blasted the decision and threatened to impose a ban on Indians. Kuwaiti MPs have also strongly criticized the Indian decision and called on the government to halt the recruitment of workers from New Delhi in protest against the decision.

According to the sources, immigration departments could start the ban on Indians from today or from next week unless a compromise is reached. Based on the latest official figures, the number of Indians in Kuwait has rapidly swelled to close to 800,000, becoming the largest foreign community. Among them are more than 200,000 domestic workers. They are followed by Egyptians who number around 530,000, Filipinos 185,000 and Bangladeshis at 180,000.

The Indian embassy has repeatedly explained that the bank guarantee is a decision taken by the Indian government in 2007 and has been applied in several countries including all other Gulf states. The embassy added that the bank guarantee will be terminated immediately once the work contract between the employer and domestic helper ends.

By Staff Reporter

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This article was published on 10/12/2014