There has been a significant drop in the number of OFWs, particularly household service workers (HSWs) deployed in Kuwait due to the stricter requirements imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), as shared in a report by Business Mirror.
As of Aug. 10, the POEA has only approved around 1,049 overseas employment certificates (OECs) of Filipino HSWs since the deployment ban has been lifted by the government back in May.
With More Stringent Rules, Fewer OFWs are Sent to Kuwait
The aforementioned applications of HSWs were already being processed by the POEA when the government imposed the deployment ban on the Gulf State last February.
The number of OECs approved in July was significantly lower in contrast to the monthly deployment average of 5,000 Filipino HSWs to Kuwait in 2016 to 2017.
In a statement given by recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani, the downward trend in OFW deployment in the Arab nation is due to the refusal of some foreign recruitment agencies (FRAs) in Kuwait to comply with the POEA’s requirements.
This includes the highly controversial $10,000 to $15,000 deposit in the POEA’s new escrow requirement on FRAs in the Gulf State.
FRAs are the foreign counterparts of Philippine Recruitment Agencies (PRAs), which process the application requirements of OFWs in their host nations.
To this, Geslani explained that not many FRAs in Kuwait are willing to pay an additional KD 3,000 in escrow deposits on top of the KD 40,000 bond they already pay to the host country.
Earlier in August, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III had announced of the temporary suspension of the escrow requirement for FRAs in Kuwait.
The suspension will remain in place until the POEA governing board can issue a new resolution which will extend the requirement to all host countries where OFWs are being deployed, and not just in Kuwait.
Compared to the previous agreement between Kuwait and the Philippines, the POEA shared that Kuwaiti employers face more stringent requirements now under the new memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was recently signed last May.
The POEA further disclosed that it has yet to accredit any Kuwaiti employer of HSWs under the new MoU.
The newly-signed MoU clearly maintains that all Kuwaiti employers must now allow their Filipino HSWs to keep their passports, mobile phones, and for them to open bank accounts on their employees’ behalf for salary purposes.
The signing of the MoU was a condition set by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to restore ties and to lift the deployment ban on the Gulf State after a series of bilateral rows and conflicts brought by the rampant abuse of HSWs in the Arab country.