Kuwait is set to deport 302 Filipinos who were among 462 Filipino laborers evacuated from an unlicensed sheltering center. The deportation comes amid growing labor tensions between Kuwait and the Philippines.
Evacuation from Unlicensed Center
Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported that the Filipino laborers were evacuated from a housing unit rented by the Philippine embassy, which the Kuwaiti authorities claimed was a violation of their laws. They stated that the house was being used to shelter house labor fugitives escaping from their sponsors.
The remaining 150 Filipino laborers are kept in police custody due to involvement in various legal cases, including criminal ones.
Suspension of Visas for Filipino Workers
Kuwait announced last month a suspension on issuing all visas for Filipino workers until further notice. This suspension was due to what they termed as “wrong practices” by the Philippine embassy and crimes committed by some members of the Filipino community against Kuwaitis.
Deportation Process and Claims
The deportation process of the 302 Filipinos, including nine women, is scheduled to begin this Thursday. The deportees will be sent home in groups on various flights.
Kuwaiti officials stated that no embassy has the right to set up sheltering centers for fugitive workers.
Issues Raised by Kuwait
The Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) in Kuwait pointed out several issues with the Philippine embassy’s conduct. They include suggesting domestic labor recruitment offices to withdraw workers from Kuwaiti households and exerting pressure on employers with undesirable conditions for renewing contracts.
Furthermore, the embassy was accused of sheltering workers who violated Kuwait’s residency law or were registered as absentees.
Talks and Conditions for Resolution
Kuwait has outlined several conditions for resolving the dispute, such as the Philippine embassy acknowledging their violations of Kuwaiti laws and promising not to repeat them in the future.
However, during recent talks in Kuwait, the Philippine delegation rejected these conditions. Consequently, Kuwait’s decision to suspend issuing all visas for Filipino labor remains in effect “until further notice”.