Sri Lanka eyes Kuwait deal to protect migrant workers

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Sri Lanka is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with Kuwait to protect the rights of migrant workers in the country.

The agreement would cover the estimated 260,000 Sri Lankans employed in the Gulf state which has been criticised in the past for its treatment of foreign workers, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.

According to Sri Lanka’s Bureau of Foreign Employment, there were 14,704 complaints in 2010 alone for breach of employment contracts, non-payment of wages, physical and sexual harassment.

A quarter of its total foreign workforce of eight million works in the Middle East.

The majority of them are women and unskilled workers, working as housemaids in oil rich nations.

“There are 260,000 Sri Lankans employed in Kuwait, of which 75 percent are female workers,” Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena was quoted as saying.

The MoU is similar to those already signed with the governments of UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan on the employment of migrant workers, he said.

In January, agreements were signed in Kuwait and Bahrain in a bid to give Nepalese overseas workers better protection.

Kuwait has 40,000 Nepalese workers, with more than half of them female domestic workers, while the majority of men work in the construction industry.

Nepal's largest employer is the Gulf states, where families depend on making money overseas, but the rapid expansion of migrant labour has taken place without formal protection of workers' rights.

In 2010, the US State Department urged Gulf countries to scrap their sponsorship system for migrant workers that leaves labourers and domestic workers exposed to human trafficking and forced labour.

In a 373-page report, the department said that employers in the Gulf states exploit the widely used ‘kafala’ system to abuse workers and named Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as the region’s worst offenders.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Sampath

Good decision, hope this will implement without further delay?..!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Playing by the numbers: Saudi Arabian Airlines

Playing by the numbers: Saudi Arabian Airlines

Why is Saudia only mentioned as an afterthought when one talks...

Crude control

Crude control

The startling fall in the oil price has renewed questions about...

Review: Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris

Review: Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris

The hotel is one of just six in France to be awarded the prestigious...

Most Discussed