KUWAIT: The government of India has scrapped with immediate effect the $2,500 bank guarantee measure that was enforced earlier for recruitment of Indian female domestic workers for Kuwait, a press release issued by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said. The cancellation of the policy measure brings an end to a two-year-old dispute between Kuwait and India.
The Indian government had mandated in Nov 2014 that every employer who wanted to recruit an Indian female domestic worker had to provide a bank guarantee of $2,500 (KD 730) to the Indian Embassy, drawing protests from Kuwaiti authorities. The issue was even raised in the National Assembly and several MPs called for stringent measures against India, such as halting of recruitment of manpower from India. The cancellation is applicable to all GCC countries.

“The measure was withdrawn primarily because it was not acceptable to Kuwait. Secondly, the measure was proven ineffective,” said Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain. The ambassador said India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar is visiting Kuwait on Sept 18, heading a high-level delegation to attend the Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting, in which many crucial bilateral issues will come up for discussion. “The government decision is also a goodwill gesture on the part of the Indian government ahead of the minister’s visit to Kuwait,” Jain added.

The embassy clarified in the release that the recruitment will, however, be regulated through six government recruitment agencies. They are: Non-Resident Keralites Affairs Department (NORKA-ROOTS), Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants Ltd (ODEPC), Overseas Manpower Corporation Limited (OMCL), Uttar Pradesh Financial Corporation, government of Uttar Pradesh, Telanga Overseas Manpower Company (TOMCOM) and the Overseas Manpower Company, Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Indian government, the measure was introduced for the protection and welfare of Indian female domestic workers coming to the GCC countries for employment after allegations were raised that they were mistreated by some of their employers. The bank guarantee policy measure had also been implemented in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

By Sajeev K Peter