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India drops bank guarantee clause for Kuwait domestic helpers

Future recruitments will be regulated through six government agencies, says embassy

Manama: Indian has scrapped the $2,500 bank guarantee it mandated in November 2014 to recruit Indian domestic helpers to work in Kuwait.

Under the measure, the Indian embassy in Kuwait received the bank guarantee from the employer before it endorsed the recruitment of the Indian helper. The decision caused furore in Kuwait and constituted a thorn in the labour relations between the two countries.

“Kuwait has regularly informed the Indian authorities that the local domestic labour law included all guarantees for helpers and prevented problems related to late or non-payment of salaries, working hours and run-aways,” a diplomatic source told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai.

India’s ambassador to Kuwait Sunil Jain reportedly said that “the measure was withdrawn primarily because it was not acceptable for Kuwait and because it was proven to be ineffective.”

The decision coincides with the scheduled visit on September 18 by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar to Kuwait.

The embassy said in a statement carried by Kuwaiti media that future recruitments will be regulated through six government recruitment agencies: Non-Resident Keralites Affairs Department, Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants, Overseas Manpower Corporation Limited, Uttar Pradesh Financial Corporation, government of Uttar Pradesh, Telengana Overseas Manpower Company and the Overseas Manpower Company, Andhra Pradesh.

“The designation of six recruitment agencies is part of the formal regulatory frameworks to prevent any manipulation or exploitation by informal entities, particularly in relation to receiving high commissions and large amounts of money from those who want to come and work in Kuwait,” the source said.

Following the cancellation of the 730 Kuwaiti Dinar bank guarantee, recruiting an Indian domestic helper would cost only KD 400, Fadel Ashkanani, head of the Kuwaiti Union of Domestic Labour was quoted by Al Rai on Tuesday.

"The cancellation of the bank guarantee requirement, which was imposed to bring Indian domestic helpers three years ago, will have a direct impact on the fees in the domestic labour market," Ashkanani said.

“With direct recruitment, the Kuwaiti employer will be responsible only for the helper’s ticket and the employment contract procedures and fees in India and the Indian embassy in Kuwait."

Indian employees are distinctive and skilled, cause few problems and are close to the Kuwaiti traditions, customs and cuisine, he added.

According to Kuwait Central Statistical Bureau, 544,945 Indians were employed in Kuwait in March 2017, up from 498,906 in March last year, an increase of 9.2 per cent.