Aug 03 2011
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'Sponsorship system will end by '12 after approval of Labor body'
Kandari cites security reasons for ban on work permits
KUWAIT CITY: The sponsorship system will be cancelled by 2012 after the proposed Public Authority for Labor has been approved, reports Al-Kuwaitiya daily quoting Undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mohammed Al-Kandari. Al-Kandari expected the sponsorship will be revoked by early 2012, following approval of the independent Labor Authority. "The first step to cancel the system has been initiated with the law allowing employees to transfer their residences to other sponsors without the consent of the existing sponsor provided they have spent three years with them", he noted.
Asked about reasons for the delays in passing the law that incriminate human trafficking, he said the Justice Ministry was asked to prepare a law in that regard, which will be referred to the Cabinet for discussion and later, submitted to the parliament for approval. "Nevertheless, I assure the Kuwaiti laws incriminate all violations against human rights", as he cited the new private sector labor law that protects many rights of the expatriate personnel. He reaffirmed there is no human trafficking in Kuwait, even though certain wrong practices are perpetrated by some individuals.
On the US report that classified Kuwait in the third rank with countries involved in human trafficking that exploit domestic workers for prostitution, Al-Kandari said the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr Mohammed Al-Afasi had earlier spoken about this issue and stressed the report has been repeated for the past three years, irrespective of concrete steps taken to amend the file of expatriate personnel and their rights. He noted the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and the concerned authorities, has adopted tangible procedures to keep the rights of the expatriate personnel, among them the law that stipulates their minimum salaries-besides the shelter for the domestic workers who are maltreated by their sponsors. He explained that Kuwait has a shelter that takes in 60 displaced workers, and the ministry is planning to establish a new center in less than one year to accommodate around 700 displaced people.
Meanwhile, Al-Kandari noted the new labor law toughens penalties against employers who exploit the personnel registered on their files. For example, Article 10 bans the employer from bringing marginal workers from within or outside the country and failing to employ them later. In case the employee declines to go to work and joins another employer, the latter will bear the cost of repatriation when the first sponsor files an absconding report against the worker. Moreover, the law stipulates a maximum of 3 years imprisonment and fine of KD 1,000 or KD 5,000 against any employer violating Article 10 of Private Sector Law. On the suspension of work permits for specific nationalities, Al-Kandari explained that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor does not have disagreements with any nationality, and that for security circumstances, in coordination with Interior Ministry, some nationalities are banned temporarily to enter the country through work permits.
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