Kuwait - Migrant domestic workers abused (2011)

There are around 650 - 700,000 migrant domestic workers in Kuwait, the majority of them from South East Asia. Reports of widespread abuse and ill treatment continue to emerge regularly, as do reports of the failings of the Kuwait authorities to properly investigate, monitor and address the issues. Foreign domestic workers, along with local domestic workers and drivers are excluded form the labour law and are vulnerable to abuse because of the lack of effective legal remedies.

In 2009 embassies in Kuwait received more than 10,000 complaints from domestic workers about unpaid wages, long working hours and physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Many domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for "absconding” and in most cases are deported even if they have been abused and seek redress. Kuwait, which has the highest ratio of domestic workers to citizens in the Middle East, announced on 26 September 2010, that it would abolish the sponsorship system in February 2011, and replace the employer-based system with a government-administered recruitment authority. No details were given on what legal protections would be added for migrant workers. However, the new Labour Code does ban companies in the private sector and oil sector from holding workers’ passports and stipulates fines for such behaviour.

© ITUC-CSI-IGB 2013 | www.ituc-csi.org | Contact Design by Pixeleyes.be - maps: jVectorMap