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Kuwait has banned the recruitment of domestic workers from 23 African and two Asian countries, according to a new circular issued by the General Directorate of Residence Affairs of Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior.

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Oman’s Minister of Manpower has issued Ministerial Order 517/2019, which renews a temporary suspension on issuing visas to recruit migrant workers in construction and cleaning sectors for another 6 months.

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The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) announced that domestic workers over the age of 60 can renew their contract and stay with their sponsor under certain conditions.

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Bahrain has halved the amount foreigners need to invest to self-sponsor, from 100,000 BHD (USD 265,222)  to 50,000 BHD (USD 132,611), in a bid to boost investment in the country. Expats and their dependents who meet the investor visa criteria will be given a renewable 2 to 10 years residence permit without a sponsor.

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Kuwait’s Ministry of Health has approved a decision to double birth delivery fees for migrant women covered under the national health insurance scheme from 50 KD to 100 KD.

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Qatar (once again) announced the abolishment of the Kafala system today in Doha. Though details are still to come, an ILO press statement indicates that the exit visa will be eliminated (except for military personnel) and that all workers will be able to change their employers without their sponsor’s permission following a probationary period. The legislation is expected to come into force from January 2020.

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Migrant-Right.org’s Associate Editor and Director of Projects Vani Saraswathi discusses the situation of migrant workers in the GCC on the Latitude Adjustment podcast.
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Kuwait has raised the minimum wage required for foreigners to sponsor families from 450 Kuwaiti Dinars (USD 1,481) to 500 Kuwaiti Dinars (USD1,646) per month. The decision maintains an existing exemption for 14 professional occupations.

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Earlier this month, hundreds of workers from two companies in Qatar took to the streets to protest months of unpaid wages.  Bystanders who shared images of the protest seemed to be taken by surprise, as though delayed salaries and poor working conditions are common, public protests are not – strikes and any form of unionisation are not permitted in the country.

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A recent Oxfam article dives deep into the impact of remittances on national economies and migrant communities. The report also examines high transaction costs, where a significant percentage of the remittances are siphoned off as fees.

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Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) recently announced that a new shelter for male migrants is expected to be opened soon.

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Saudi’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development recently announced that recruitment agencies must receive female domestic workers arriving for the first time to the Kingdom at the airport, and provide them with accommodation before they begin employment. 

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Bahrain yet again postpones the implementation of the wage-protection system (WPS). Bahrain now expects to implement the WPS in September 2019.

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Oman has issued a temporary visa ban on migrant workers in certain private construction and cleaning sectors for 6 months.

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Bahrain now requires migrant workers reported as “absconders” or “runaways” to pay for their own repatriation costs.

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Migrant workers’ eligibility to bring family members to the UAE will now be based on their income alone, rather than on their profession.

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