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Kuwait lifts ban on domestic workers from several countries

On February 20, 2019

In a bid to reduce recruitment costs and address labor shortages,  Kuwait's Ministry of Interior has reportedly lifted a ban on domestic worker recruitment from the Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Senegal in addition to Nepal, and Vietnam.  It is unclear if new labour agreements have been signed with any of these countries.

Domestic workers from these countries had nonetheless entered Kuwait; 39 women from Nepal and 37 women from the Ivory Coast were in the Kuwait shelter for domestic workers in June 2018. In the same year, France24 exposed the severe abuse of a woman from the Ivory Coast. Though Nepal bans emigration to Kuwait for domestic work, hundreds of women are being trafficked through other countries.

The Ivory Coast and Mali do not have embassies in Kuwait, meaning these workers have no support system if something goes wrong. With the lifting of the ban, more workers are expected from these countries. The workers usually launch their complaints with the Embassy of the Central African Republic.

The Kuwaiti government is likely eager to increase domestic worker recruitment ahead of Ramadan, when demand soars.

Editor's note: Several local outlets have reported that Kuwait has "lifted the ban on Africans."  However, the recruitment of domestic workers from several African countries remains officially banned, while recruitment of others has been allowed for the last one year.