FEWER Filipino household service workers (HSW) are now bound for Kuwait as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) tightens its requirements for Kuwaiti recruiters and employers.
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As of August 10, 2018, the POEA told the BusinessMirror that it approved the overseas employment certificate (OEC) of only 1,049 Filipino HSWs, since they were allowed to work again in Kuwait last July.
The applications of the said HSWs were already being processed by the POEA when the government decided to stop the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Kuwait last February.
The number of over a thousand approvals in July is significantly lower compared to the average monthly deployment of 5,000 Filipino HSWs to Kuwait in 2016 to 2017.
In a statement, recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani attributed the declining deployment trend to the refusal of some foreign recruitment agencies (FRAs) in Kuwait to comply with the POEA’s requirements.
This includes the controversial $10,000 to $50,000 deposit in the POEA’s new escrow requirement for FRAs in Kuwait.
FRAs are the foreign partners of Philippine recruitment agencies (PRA), which process the recruitment requirements of OFWs in their host countries.
“Many foreign recruitment agencies are not willing to pay additional KD 3,000 (Kuwaiti Dinar) in escrow deposits since they already paid a bond of KD 40,000 in Kuwait,),” Geslani said.
As of August 26, 2018, a KD is equivalent to $3.29.
Earlier this month, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III announced the temporary suspension of the escrow requirement for FRAs in Kuwait.
The suspension will be in effect until the POEA governing board can issue a new resolution, which will apply the requirement to all destination countries of OFWs and not just Kuwait.
Another factor which affected the deployment of Filipino HSWs in Kuwait is the new POEA policy for their employers.
Compared to its previous policy, POEA said Kuwaiti employers now face stringent requirements under the newly signed Philippine-Kuwait memorandum of understanding (MOU).
POEA said it has yet to accredit any new Kuwaiti employer of HSWs under the new MOU.
Under the MOU, Kuwaiti employers must now allow their Filipino HSWs to keep their passports, mobile phones, and open bank accounts in their employee’s behalf for salary purposes.
The signing of the MOU was a condition set by President Rodrigo R. Durterte on Kuwait before he allowed the resumption of the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait in May.
Duterte ordered a deployment ban in Kuwait after learning about the brutal death of a Filipino HSW, Joanna Demafelis, allegedly at the hands of her employer. Her body was found in a freezer at her employers’ home, about one year since she went missing.
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