› The Embassy › Advisory for Indian workers in Kuwait
The total number of Indian expatriates in Kuwait is about 7.5 lakh (on 30 April 2014 as per information received from Ministry of Interior of the State of Kuwait) and out of which, there are approximately 2.7 lakh employed in domestic sector, whereas about 3.6 lakh are deployed in private sector. There are about 1 lakh persons on dependent visas. While the Indian workforce is well regarded by the Kuwaitis due to its high degree of work ethics, sincerity, hard work and law abiding nature, but there are some cases of maltreatment and abuse faced by the Indian workers such as withholding/non-payment/delayed payment of salary, long working hours, retention of passports, registering false charges with police authorities, physical and mental harassment, non-grant of emergency leave and release, non-payment of overtime allowance and food allowance etc. Needless to mention that there are difficult working and living conditions in Kuwait (as is common with other Gulf States), particularly in summer months. Sadly, the workers are also duped and fleeced by recruiting agents (RAs) in India for getting our nationals work visas with various false promises.
2. In view of a large number of complaints being received by the Embassy, the following suggestions are made for the safeguard of Indian citizens seeking employment in Kuwait and welfare of the Indian workers in Kuwait.
CHECK ABOUT EMPLOYMENT PROCEDURE:
- Be sure of your Recruiting Agent. Ask him to show his/her Original Registration Certificate issued by the Protector General of Emigrants, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India. Do not deal with him/her unless he/she is registered and that his/her registration is valid and is not suspended / cancelled. In case of doubt, please check with any of the offices of the Protectors of Emigrants (POEs) or the Protector General of Emigrants (PGE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, New Delhi (Tel: +91-2687 4250; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Blacklisted/registered recruiting agents and blacklisted Kuwaiti companies may be verified from Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, New Delhi, website: email@example.com.
- Do not deal with sub-Agents as they are not permitted under the Emigration Act, 1983 and Rules.
- Ask the Recruiting Agent to show to you the Demand Letter and Power of Attorney from the foreign employer (bulk recruitment) and the agreement between sponsor and recruiting agent (individual).
- Also carefully go through the Employment Contract detailing the salary/wage levels and other service conditions. Minimum wages for different categories of Indian workers coming to Kuwait for employment are given on the Embassy’s website (www.indembkwt.org).
- Women below the age of 30 years may not be granted emigrant clearance for employment as housemaid, domestic worker, hair dresser, beautician, dancer, stage artist, labourers, general worker, etc.
CHECK BEFORE DEPARTURE:
- Ensure you have a Passport valid for at least six months. A valid Visa must be either stamped on or accompany your Passport. Also ensure that your VISA is for the same category for which you have been recruited. Always keep your Passport and Visa in safe custody. Keep an extra copy of your Passport and Visa with youand a copy of the same may also be kept with your family/relatives in India as well as close friends.
- You must possess a copy of the Employment Contract signed by you and your Kuwaiti employer duly attested by the India Embassy (ECR category only).
- You must have a proper Employment Visa (No. 18) for employment in Private sector (specimen copy attached with translation) and Employment Visa No. (20) for employment in domestic sector (specimen copy attached with translation). The Visa No. 14 (commercial visit visa- specimen copy attached with translation) is only short term (3 months or so) visa for work and it does not repeat not guarantee transfer of visa to Visa No. 18 nor does it permit further stay beyond expiry of the period of visa.
- In case of any doubt about the genuineness of the Visa sent to you, please check with the Embassy of India, Kuwait (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com) immediately for verification.
- Ensure that you have a valid PravasiBhartiyaBimaYojana Policy (PBBY policy)
- Acquaint yourself with local labour laws, working and living conditions of Kuwait. Keep with you complete address, phone, email of the Indian Embassy in Kuwait (available on the Embassy’s website: www.indembkwt.org).
IN THE COUNTRY OF YOUR EMPLOYMENT:
- As far as possible, never part with your passport and the employment contract.
- Obtain a Residence Permit (Iqama) and Civil ID.
- Do not sign any other Employment Contract or any blank paper.
- Do not strike work or resort to agitations. These are illegal under Kuwaiti labour laws. You could be arrested, imprisoned and also deported.
- Do not carry any medicines without the relevant prescriptions from a Doctor.
- Avoid all contacts that may result in AIDS – a dreaded disease.
- Keep in touch with the Indian Embassy in Kuwait and report any complaints about non-payment or delayed payment of wages or compensations or any other problem to the Indian Embassy (Contact details of officers given at the end of the Advisory).
- Personal baggage – Customs checking is very STRICT. Please co-operate with the Customs staff at the Kuwait International Airport.
- Ensure that you do not carry any narcotics or alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is strictly prohibited. Its consumption is a serious offence attracting severe punishment.
- Do not accept any unchecked parcel from any one. If you have to take a parcel for someone, check thoroughly that it does not contain alcohol or narcotics. Otherwise, it may land you in serious difficulties on arrival in the country of employment.
- The State religion of the State of Kuwait is Islam. Public practice of any other religion is not allowed.
- You must keep a photocopy of all the pages of your Passport. Do not lose/misplace your Passport or its photocopy.
- In case you lose/misplace your Passport, inform the Indian Embassy immediately giving them details, i.e. Passport number, date and place of issue, your name and date of your entry in the country. You can give these details only if you keep a photocopy of your Passport.
- Do not lose your copy of Employment Contract. Make photocopies and keep them with you always.
- You must have a full name, address, telephone/fax number of your foreign employer, before you leave India.
- If you have difficulty in locating your Kuwaiti Employer, contact the Embassy of India in Kuwait immediately.
- Do not accept temporary or permanent employment with another person or establishment other than that the sponsoring Company/ establishment/ person. Employment with persons other than your original sponsor is strictly prohibited and attracts punishment/deportation.
- Before the Visa or Employment Contract expires, get them renewed. If you are returning to India for a short while during the tenure of your Employment Contract abroad, ensure that the validity period of Visa does not expire before you return to Kuwait.
- Also ensure that your Passport is valid. At least two months before it is about to expire; get it revalidated from the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.
- More details on do’s/don’ts may be seen under the heading “Country Manual on Kuwait” in the website of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi (URL: http://moia.gov.in/writereaddata/pdf/pr_dep_kuwait.pdf)
- A copy of the latest version of Labour Law of Kuwait is enclosed. Please go through it so that you do not violate the same and at the same time know your rights and obligations under the Law.
- Indian workers facing harassments/physical or mental abuse or dispute with their sponsor regarding non-payment of wages, leave, etc. can contact the Indian Workers Welfare Centre (IWWC), Embassy of India, Kuwait (Domestic Workers :Tel: 22530600 & 22530612 Ext. 236, 220 & 240; Company Workers:Tel: 22530612 & 22530600 – Ext. 253) to sort out their problems.
- The officials of the IWWC will try to sort their problems through discussions with the sponsor for an amicable settlement. If no agreement or settlement is reached through discussions, the worker concerned is advised to approach the Labour Court where services of IWWC (including help of an interpreter) would be made available by the Embassy free of cost to enable him to pursue his case in the court.
- To assist the Indian workers pursuing the case in the Labour Court, a legal advice clinic is available at free of charge.
- Workers facing problems relating to working conditions or living conditions in Camps provided by the Company, must bring to the notice of the Embassy for taking up the matter with the Management.
- It is always good for all Indian nationals to keep the copy of their Residence Permit (Iqama) and work contract with them to safeguard their interest.
- Workers facing any problems can contact the Embassy officers for advice/redressal of their grievances (Contact details of officers given at the end of the Advisory).
- It is illegal to work with a new sponsor unless you have obtained local release and passport from your original sponsor, otherwise the original sponsor can always file an absconding report resulting in your deportation.
CASES OF DOMESTIC WORKERS
- Indian male and female domestic workers in distress (housemaids, cooks, drivers, and houseboys) can contact the Embassy at any time for any assistance. The numbers of Officers are given below.
- The distressed can be provided with shelters (both female and male) by the Embassy while their grievances are being addressed.
- There is, presently, no Labour Laws for those working in domestic sector. Hence, the resolution of their problems takes more time through the coordination with the officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior, Kuwait.
- It is illegal to work with a new sponsor unless you have obtained transfer of your visa by following proper procedure otherwise the original sponsor can always file an absconding report resulting in your deportation.