Philippines and Kuwait to sign labour agreement before Ramadan

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Apr 12 2018

The Philippines and Kuwait are set to a sign a labour agreement before Ramadan begins. The Philippines banned deployment to Kuwait in February, following reports of severe abuse against Filipino workers, and the discovery of Joanna Demafelis’s body in a freezer.

According to the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment, the agreement is finalised and awaiting signature from President Duerte.

The labour agreement is reported to:

  • Disqualify abusive employers from recruiting Filipino workers
  • Allow Filipino workers retain their passports
  • Require workers to be able to use their cell phones
  • Require a minimum monthly salary of KD 120 (USD 400)
  • Require 8 hours of rest per day
  • Limit work to one household only

Migrante Philippines, an Overseas Filipino Worker advocacy group,  earlier criticized the agreement as "nothing new," noting that the prospective agreement provides for nothing more than what is already required by the Philippines' standard employment contract for household service workers. Migrante also lamented the failure to consult domestic workers in drafting the MoU.

Meanwhile, over 4,000 of the estimated 10,000 undocumented Filipinos have left Kuwait since the amnesty began in January,

While the amnesty for undocumented migrants in Kuwait ends on April 22, the Phillippines urged undocumented Filipino workers to register with their embassy by April 12 in order for their exit paperwork to be processed in time. Undocumented migrants who do not leave during the amnesty will face fines, arrest, and a ban on re-entry.

April 14 Update: According to Arab Times Online, the Philippines embassy is still accepting amnesty applications filed after the initial April 12 deadline.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East