Kuwait will import domestic workers from Ethiopia as it implements a contingency plan to ensure an adequate supply of manpower since it has yet to lift its suspension of new entry visas for workers and travelers alike from the Philippines, Gulf News reported.
Khaled Al Dakhnan, head of the Union of Domestic Labor Recruitment Offices in Kuwait, announced the group has reached a bilateral agreement with its Ethiopian counterpart to regulate the import of domestic workers from the African nation.
This developed as the Philippine government has repatriated some 644 overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait since May, the Department of Migrant Workers said yesterday.
Kuwait and the Philippines had agreed to start deporting 50 Filipino workers to Manila daily amid their long-running dispute over worker protections and employer rights.
Meanwhile, Al Dakhnan predicted a substantial number of Ethiopian workers will be brought in to meet the demand caused by the halted recruitment from the Philippines, Gulf News reported.
He urged haste in finalizing the labor agreement with Ethiopia to prevent any potential crises, particularly with the upcoming school season in September, as he revealed ongoing discussions with other countries, including Kenya and Uganda.
Al Dakhnan assured that the value of employment contracts would align with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s decision and not exceed 500 Kuwait dinars (about P91,000), Gulf News reported.
The designated monthly wage is set at KD 90 (about USD 300 or P16,000), which is recognized as the highest among neighboring Gulf countries, the report added.
In Manila, DMW Undersecretary Hans Cacdac said the repatriated OFWs include “distressed workers with labor cases, those with problems with employers, and some who were overstaying their visas or had decided to stay without work permits.”
“Between May and June, we have 644 repatriated distressed OFWs from Kuwait. We still have two more flights arriving till June 8,” he said in an interview with TeleRadyo.
The Kuwaiti government has demanded that the Philippines close its shelters housing OFWs who have escaped from their employers.
The Philippines, however, has stood firm on maintaining the shelters, saying this is non-negotiable.
The DMW earlier imposed a deployment ban in February for newly hired or first-time domestic workers in Kuwait following the murder of Jullebee Ranara.
The country last imposed a total deployment ban to Kuwait in 2018 after OFW Joanna Demafelis was slain and discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment there.