KUWAIT: Several owners of domestic help offices in Kuwait expressed optimism regarding a senior diplomat's recent calls to reconsider the costs that employers in Kuwait pay in order to recruit domestic helpers from India. Nevertheless, the owners explained in statements to a local Arabic daily that a majority of the money paid goes on fees and charges inside and outside Kuwait.

Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Sibi George was recently quoted by Al-Qabas Arabic daily saying that the current recruitment fee of domestic helpers from his country, which stand at around KD 890 per worker, was too high, noting that the recruitment costs in India amount to around KD 100. In statements published by Al-Anbaa yesterday, the anonymous office owners explained that in addition to the KD 100 fee, they have to pay fees and commissions to mandoobs (brokers) and agents in Kuwait, in addition to commissions Indian offices are charging.

This brings up the total cost to recruit a domestic helper from India to up to KD 850, meaning that in this case, an office in Kuwait creates a net profit of only KD 40 per worker they help recruit. One office owner said the ministerial fees and government procedures, such as fees for authenticating papers and medical tests, currently cost KD 210, apart from the agents' and middlemen's commission. He further explained that an office pays a KD 60 fee for the Indian Embassy's contract, KD 150 for Kuwait Embassy and medical test procedures, in addition to KD 90 for authenticating documents.