By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Kuwait is eyeing more countries to start allowing workers to come to Kuwait from in order to work as domestic helpers in addition to India, Sri Lanka and Eritrea, which are the only three remaining countries that export domestic workers to Kuwait following the Philippines’ ban last month. Eritrea’s market had joined India’s and Sri Lanka’s in sending domestic helpers to Kuwait in November 2019, Finance Minister and Acting Minister for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel revealed.

Meanwhile, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) proposed other markets that include Nepal and Vietnam, in addition to Ethiopia and Indonesia which both used to send domestic helpers to Kuwait before authorities in each country banned this practice a number of years ago.

The authority had written to the Foreign Ministry asking it to sign memorandums of understandings to bring in domestic helpers from Ethiopia, Guinea, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh and Kenya, Aqeel said. However, the minister explained that Vietnam did not show willingness to allow its national to seek jobs in Kuwait as domestic helpers, while Indonesia remains adamant on agreeing on a new mechanism for domestic helpers’ recruitment before it lifts its ban.

In the meantime, Aqeel revealed that PAM crackdowns uncovered a number of violations committed in some domestic helpers’ recruitment offices, and suspended the licenses of 66 offices for three months as a result. The violations include the way offices handled the recruitment of helpers returned by their original employers, signing maids to contracts not approved by PAM, and failure to report to the relevant department at PAM when summoned. The violations also include failure to deliver the domestic helper to the employer within 24 hours after arrival.

Expat engineers
In other news, expatriate engineers whose college degrees are not approved by the Kuwait’s engineering society could face problems in the near future as local authorities prepare to embark in a mission to verify the authenticity of degrees of the country’s foreign engineers. In this regard, informed sources at PAM revealed that the authority will start next month checking university degrees of expatriate workers who have engineering-related jobs in Kuwait, noting that the operation will be done in cooperation with Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE).

“Those whose certificates are not officially approved at KSE will not have their work license approved by PAM,” the sources warned, noting that a worker in this case would be considered in violation of labor regulations. Furthermore, the sources indicated that engineers “of all specialties” will have to pass tests taken at KSE before they wish to issue a work permit from PAM with the job title matching their engineering skill.