By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: After a significant decrease in the cost of recruiting domestic workers of various nationalities recently, Kuwait Times spoke with several domestic labor offices to learn more. Mohammad, who works at a domestic labor recruitment office, said the market has seen few applications submitted for the recruitment of workers, adding that starting from January 2023, his office lowered its fees for recruiting new domestic workers.

"The cost of recruiting domestic workers from the Philippines will be KD 700, including the flight ticket, while that of cooks and drivers will be KD 180 with tickets," he said. He said hiring charges for domestic workers from Sri Lanka will be KD 650, excluding the ticket, indicating the office will guarantee the domestic worker for six months from the dates of arrival.

Head of the Union of Domestic Labor Offices Khaled Al-Dekhanan explained to Kuwait Times that the lower fees for recruiting domestic workers is due to the circumstances some offices are going through. He affirmed that domestic labor offices are committed to the price list by the ministry of commerce and industry which set a recruitment fee of KD 890.

Khalid Amro confirmed the information given by Dekhanan, stating that the fees for recruiting a domestic worker through the office is KD 890, including airfare, but the price for recruiting a domestic worker when the employer presents the passport to the office is KD 390, according to ministerial resolution no. 33 issued on Feb 1, 2021.The law for the establishment of domestic labor offices stipulates that the company should train and qualify workers in specialized institutions before they enter the country and take all necessary steps, including for the safety of workers, and ensure they are free of any diseases.

Issa Mansour, one of the owners of domestic labor offices, said reducing fees is not an option, saying even the fees set by the ministry of commerce need to be amended. "Domestic labor offices aren't greedy. Huge sums are paid by the office to recruit workers from their countries for transportation, housing and meals. It is a cost borne by the office and exceeds the amount determined by the ministry of commerce," he said.

According to the Central Statistical Bureau, domestic workers make up the lion's share of expatriate workers in Kuwait, as the number of domestic workers at the end of the first half of 2022 reached around 750,000, or 37.5 percent of the total expatriate workers in the country. Earlier, Mubarak Al-Azmi, former Director General of the Public Authority of Manpower, stressed all executive decisions issued by the authority provide effective protection for workers in accordance with the standards and agreements of Kuwait, especially with regards to their financial rights.