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The Philippines and Kuwait are set to a sign a labour agreement before Ramadan begins. According to the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment, the agreement is finalised and awaiting signature from President Duerte.

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The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a decision last week that allows some workers to work for multiple employers. These part-time contracts are only available to “highly-skilled” workers with a university degree or diploma.

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A bill to tax expatriate remittances has been approved by Kuwait’s Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, and now awaits approval by the Parliament at large. The proposed fees are staggered by salary. A bill to increase residency fees for expatriate workers is also close to being referred to Parliament.

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An external monitoring report on Qatar’s World Cup sites has been released, finding ongoing issues with excessive working hours and contact substitution, as well as improvements in workers representation and repayment of recruitment fees.

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Oman has announced new restrictions on sending money through exchange houses. Customers must now declare the source of their funding if the amount to be remitted is greater than their salary, or greater than OMR400 (USD 1,040).

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The Kuwait government has declared an amnesty for irregular migrants effective Jan 29 to Feb 22.

Update: The amnesty has been extended until April 22. 

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A new General Labour Recruitment Bilateral Agreement signed between Uganda and Saudi Arabia allows for Ugandan professionals and manual labourers, such as doctors, engineers, carpenters and welders, to seek employment in the Kingdom.

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Ethiopia and the UAE have agreed to expedite a labour exchange agreement, under discussion between the two countries for the last several years.  

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Starting in February 2018, expats applying for work and residency visas will need to provide a certificate of good conduct issued by their home country, or their country of residence for the last five years. 

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Bahrain has raised the minimum salary required for foreigners to obtain family visas from BHD250 (USD660) to BHD400 (USD1,060). Expats currently sponsoring families under the previous visa rule are excluded from the requirement.

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Dubai’s labour court announces this week that it will appoint a panel of judges to review cases involving by domestic workers. According to the National, the panel is set to sit for the first time in November.

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On September 26, the UAE announced that Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved the country’s first law on domestic workers. The law will come into force once relevant executive regulations and standard job contracts are finalised. 

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In a statement released today, HRW has said that Qatar’s midday summer work bans do not provide adequate protection for construction workers. 

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Bahrain will be the first country in the GCC to allow foreigners to live and work in the kingdom without a sponsor.  Undocumented migrants are now able to apply for a flexible permit that allows them to work for more than one employer in a full or part-time nonprofessional job. Workers will receive a “Blue Card” renewable every six months, which they must keep on them at all times,  and are able to exit and re-enter the country at will.

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The Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) has launched a hotline for expatriate workers to submit complaints and understand their legal rights. The hotline 22215150 is available in Arabic, Arabic, English, Filipino, Hindi and Urdu.  So far, over 800 inquiries have been made on issues ranging from passport confiscation, transfer of sponsorship, owed wages, and contract violations.

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