By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Labor talks between Kuwait and a Philippine delegation ended without agreement, a statement said on Wednesday, as the interior ministry said a ban on visas for new Filipino workers will continue. First Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and Acting Defense Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah insisted the sovereignty of Kuwait and the dignity of its people is a red line.

The statement issued by the interior ministry said the Filipino delegation “refused to comply with conditions presented by Kuwait” to not repeat violations by the Philippine Embassy. “As a result, the interior ministry insists on its position rejecting any violation of the sovereignty of Kuwait and the dignity of its citizens,” the statement said. The ministry said a ban on visas for new Filipino workers will continue indefinitely, adding renewal of residence permits of Filipino legal residents will continue as normal.

The conditions set by Kuwait include an admission by the Philippine Embassy that it violated laws, decisions and charters in Kuwait, which amount to a breach of diplomatic practices. Kuwait also demanded that the embassy pledge not to repeat such violations in the future. Concerned authorities in Kuwait will then have to issue an official warning against the violation of local laws and regulations. The statement said that if the Filipino side had accepted the conditions, the interior ministry would have reviewed the ban on visas.

The Public Authority of Manpower listed a number of violations committed by the Philippine Embassy. They include asking labor recruitment offices to remove domestic helpers from Kuwaiti homes under the pretext they have completed their work contract. It also charged the embassy pressurized recruitment offices to house  domestic helpers at their residences, despite knowing this is banned in Kuwait. PAM said the embassy also forced recruitment offices to search for runaway maids, bypassing official agencies in the country. The embassy also forced recruitment offices to include items in work contracts that employers don’t want. PAM also charged mistreatment of Kuwaiti citizens when they visit the embassy. The embassy also accommodates workers in private housing or a shelter affiliated with it, despite some of these workers being in violation of the residency law or have absconding notices filed against them.

Sheikh Talal has directed PAM to coordinate with the foreign ministry to reach agreements with labor-exporting countries to supply the local market with necessary manpower.