(MENAFN - Arab Times) IN a recent statement made by the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, he acknowledged "the financial brunt of hiring a domestic helper" in Kuwait. However, one would ask; why does not the government do something to tackle the high fees sometimes charged by private recruitment agencies! (Arab Times, March 9, 2012).
Moreover, the Minister in his recent statement assured the public that "the ministry will do all it can to put an end to those who con the public especially when it comes to gathering personal information before a domestic worker is contracted to work for the family through the concerned embassy in Kuwait" (same source). I would argue that our government needs to put in place new effective precautionary measures to end the exploitation and of citizens and expats by some domestic helpers' recruitment agencies. Currently there does not seem to be any official standard applied to end the monopoly on the rising "prices" of domestic helpers.
A Kuwaiti or an expatriate sponsor has few options when they try to hire a domestic helper. They will be either forced to choose a former domestic helper, or wait for a new one. In both conditions of recruitment, some private domestic service agencies usually charge very high fees. In fact, hiring of a new domestic helper in Kuwait seems to be more expensive than in other countries in the Gulf region.
What seems to make it too expensive to hire a maid for example is the fact that there is no set of rules that recruitment agencies follow in this regard. An agency can choose randomly a certain price fee for hiring a maid from a particular nationality. In some other cases, it may cost less to hire a maid from a different country! One would ask: who sets the prices here, and what set of laws do recruitment agencies follow in this regard? The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is responsible for regulating the domestic-helper business in Kuwait.
Furthermore, it so happens sometimes that some newly hired domestic helpers are found to be too aggressive with the sponsors' children, unwilling to work, and sometimes outright manipulative! Kuwaiti and expatriate sponsors have few options when it comes to dealing with uncooperative domestic helpers. If they return them to the recruitment agencies, the latter may not refund the money already deposited. Sometimes recruitment agencies can just reduce the original price and force the sponsor to try another maid!
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor needs to do something to tackle the current exploitation of Kuwaiti and expatriate sponsors. We as sponsors continue to fall victim to a sinister web of deception, manipulation and exploitation.