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Gulf Kuwait

Kuwait eyes new markets as domestic help shortage bites

Efforts to recruit workers from Ethiopia amid ban on labourers from the Philippines

A shortage of domestic workers in Kuwait has prompted calls for devising “urgent” solutions.

Cairo: A shortage of domestic workers is worsening in Kuwait amid a ban on labourers from the Philippines, according to experts.

The problem has prompted calls for devising “urgent” solutions and opening up new markets for labour recruitment.

“It is necessary to open recruitment from new countries to boost the local market,” said Kuwaiti expert on domestic labour affairs Munir Al Usaimy.

“It is necessary to reverse the severe shortage at the Kuwaiti market especially after some countries have stopped sending their workers to Kuwait some time ago,” he added.

Al Usaimy made the remarks after a meeting with Kuwait’s acting ambassador to Ethiopia Nawaf Al Mutairi and Ethiopia officials concerned with domestic labour.


A Kuwaiti team, including government officials and owners of labour employment offices, will visit Ethiopia on May 27 to discuss a potential mechanism to re-send Ethiopian domestic workers to Kuwait, Al Usaimy said.

The expert urged swift action to resolve an ongoing labour dispute with the Philippines, noting that no solution looms in sight.

“The Philippine workforce is skilful and experienced. They are favoured by a big category of citizens, a matter that requires finalising this file urgently,” Al Usaimy added.

In May last year, Kuwait announced suspending the issuance of all visas for Filipino workers in reaction to what it said was Philippine authorities’ failure to comply with a labour agreement previously reached between the two countries. Efforts to resolve the dispute have yet to bear fruit.

In January, Kuwait set maximum fees for recruiting overseas domestic workers.


Accordingly, price caps of hiring workers from Asian countries were set at KD750 (about Dh9,000), and from African countries at KD575.

Despite a ban on new labour from the Philippines, the number of house workers in Kuwait reached 811,000 last October.

They are mostly from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.