KUWAIT: Informed sources revealed the Public Authority of Manpower has sent warnings to labor attachés of various embassies that have large communities of workers in Kuwait of the necessity of adhering to bilateral labor agreements, respecting Kuwaiti laws related to employment and residency and not imposing conditions on Kuwait related to recruiting workers that go beyond the agreements signed. PAM warned that violating these agreements will result in halting the granting of work permits to workers from these countries.

Sources said stopping work permits for new Filipino workers is a state decision and not a decision by the manpower authority, given that the Philippine government used “extortion” in imposing conditions on Kuwaiti offices that recruit workers and imposed financial fees and demands that violate the laws of the state. They warned such measures by Kuwait will be repeated with any country that takes a similar approach.

The sources said messages by the manpower authority means Kuwait will move forward to regulate recruitment of workers from countries that have a large labor presence in Kuwait, indicating that labor agreements will be announced very soon with more than one country to recruit workers, whether domestic workers or others.

The sources indicated the door will be opened again for nationals of countries that do not have large numbers of workers in Kuwait, including Iran, pointing out that Iranian workers in Kuwait currently number less than 50,000. It will be allowed to recruit workers from these countries in sectors that need workers urgently, including the construction sector.

The sources pointed out the labor agreement between Kuwait and Ethiopia regarding domestic workers will be implemented in a new way with conditions that are consistent with the laws of Kuwait and which preserve the rights of both parties, explaining new domestic workers from Nepal, Vietnam and Madagascar will be allowed to work in Kuwait.

On Thursday, 25 Filipinos, mostly domestic workers, were denied entry to the country after arriving at Kuwait airport, in implementation of instructions by the interior ministry to civil aviation authorities to not allow entry to Filipino passengers even if they have entry visas, and only allow entry to those who have valid residencies in Kuwait. Kuwait’s foreign ministry informed the Philippines of the decision to suspend entry visas for Filipinos, Deputy Foreign Minister Mansour Al-Otaibi said on Thursday.

This comes after directives by First Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Acting Defense Minister Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to stop issuing visas to Filipino workers after Manila allegedly did not comply with a bilateral labor agreement signed with Kuwait and following recent statements by the Philippine Embassy. Later Thursday, the interior ministry allowed the entry of a delegation of the Philippine foreign ministry to discuss the latest developments on the terms of the agreement related to Filipino workers, after a request by the Kuwaiti foreign ministry to issue visas to the Filipino delegation.