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Thu 31 May 2007 10:44 AM

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Gulf may ban Filipino workers

The GCC is looking at putting a ban on Filipinos coming to work in the region.

The GCC may ban Filipinos from coming to the Gulf to work due to regulations passed by the Southeast Asian country’s government aimed at improving the standard of living for its citizens working in the region.

The GCC Committee for Importing Foreign Workers yesterday unanimously agreed to stop importing Filipinos until their government's labour laws have been clarified.

“Participants agreed to submit this recommendation [to stop importing Filipinos] to the decision-makers in the GCC and expressed hope that this recommendation would be implemented as soon as possible,” Abdel-Aziz Al-Ali, the head of Kuwait's domestic labour offices, told the Kuwait News Agency.

“We understand the important international implications of this issue and we are dealing with it accordingly,” Al-Ali said.

The new regulations, passed in December last year, require GCC employers to pay a minimum salary of $400 a month to any Filipino working as domestic help – double the previous minimum salary of $200.

Employers are also required to sign a declaration stipulating that they will pay a daily fine of around $13 if they do not pay workers on time.

The minimum salary regulations are not binding on any of the GCC’s six member states, but if employers do not agree to them then the Filipino government will not process their staff’s contracts.

Asaad Derbas, head of the Kuwaiti delegation to the meeting of the Committee for Importing Foreign Workers, told the Kuwait News Agency the decision to stop importing Filipinos was taken because the country’s government used the issue as a political tool in its recent general election.

He said the issue had a negative impact on the countries importing Filipino workers.

There are around 2 million Filipinos working in the Middle East.

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