Kuwait: 450 Filipino workers to be deported 'in coming days' amid worker welfare row
The Filipinos were moved from a Philippine embassy shelter in preparation for deportations that will take place "soon", Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported Wednesday.
Citing security sources, Al-Jarida reported that 230 of the workers, all of them women, have been sent to a Kuwaiti deportation centre.
The women make up one of three batches of workers to be sent to the Philippines "in the coming days", Al-Jarida reported the sources as saying.
About 50 of them are to be deported daily, the Kuwaiti newspaper reported, citing a source from the Philippine embassy.
The reported preparations come amid a row between the two countries over worker protection.
The Philippines in February stopped the first-time deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait after the body of domestic worker Jullebee Ranara was found in the Kuwaiti desert in January.
Philippine nationals make up around six percent of Kuwait's 4.7 million population, government data shows. Kuwaitis make up 32 percent of the country’s population.
Most Filipinos in Kuwait are employed as low-paid domestic workers, where visa systems tie a worker to one employer and make migrant workers vulnerable to abuse - including employers confiscating their passports.
Kuwait indefinitely stopped issuing Filipinos with work visas last month.
It claimed Manila was violating labour agreements by housing workers in shelters, searching for runaways without involving state institutions, communicating with Kuwaiti citizens without permission from authorities and pressuring Kuwaiti employers to add clauses to employment contracts.
Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said on Monday that his country was still open to negotiations with the Philippines to resolve the issue.
However, the Gulf state has already been looking elsewhere to fill the shortage in the migrant workforce left behind by the shortage of Filipino workers.
It reportedly signed a preliminary agreement with Ethiopia last month to bring in more Ethiopian domestic workers.