Kuwait Book_English - International Labour Organization

Kuwait Book_English - International Labour Organization
Travel Smart – Work Smart
A guide for Indian migrant workers in Kuwait
Promoting safe migration and protecting migrant workers' rights
ILO Country Office for India
Copyright © International Labour Organization 2015
First published 2015
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ILO Cataloguing in Publication Data
Travel smart - work smart: a guide for Indian migrant workers in Kuwait / International Labour Organization, ILO
Country Office for India. - New Delhi: ILO, 2015
ISBN: 9789221295525; 9789221295532 (web pdf)
International Labour Organization; ILO DWT for South Asia and ILO Country Office for India
international migration / migrant worker / Indian / workers rights / working conditions / legal aspect / Kuwait
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The content of this publication can in
no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
14.09.2
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Printed in India
ARE YOU WORKING OR PLANNING TO WORK IN KUWAIT?
Information in this booklet can help you feel more secure, work safely and profitably. It will
also help you to avoid exploitation or abuse.
Always remember, the best person to look after your interests in Kuwait is you!
So travel smart and work smart!
1
Be informed – be aware
Every day many Indians– like you – enter Kuwait for
work. Most of the newly arrived expatriates join the
workforce without experiencing any major problem.
But some encounter tough times.
There are ways to avoid these sorts of difficult
situations. And if you are being abused, there are
people who can help you.
You Have Rights
Regardless of your legal status, you are entitled to the respect and protection of your
human rights and to live free from harassment and exploitation.
This guide will inform you about your rights – and your responsibilities– while you are
working in Kuwait. The information can help you protect yourself from people who want to
take advantage of your situation as a migrant worker.
To start, know the following before travelling to Kuwait
Each of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Kuwait, manages its
migrant workforce through the sponsorship, or kafala, system. Within this system,
you are under the complete responsibility of your employer (also known as the
sponsor, or kafeel), both financially and legally. Your employer is responsible for
obtaining a residence permit and providing you with an identity card (civil ID card).
Thus, your legal status to live and work in the country fully depends on your employer,
and you cannot leave or enter the country without the employer's permission. The
employer can be either a local citizen or a company.
2
Workers in the private sectors in Kuwait are governed by the country's Labour Law. If
you work in a private company, you are entitled to receive the rights guaranteed by the
Labour Law. There are exceptions, however. If you are a domestic worker (working in
a private house as a maid or gardener), a farm worker, an agricultural worker, a casual
worker, an employee of a government department or a member of the armed forces,
police or security force, you do not fall under the protection of the Labour Law. This
means in terms of work, you are only protected by what is mentioned in the contract
with the employer, which is enforceable through a civil court.
Some elements of the kafala system are being
reviewed in Kuwait. Even though the Government
has announced plans to make changes to the kafala
system, the decision has yet to be implemented. You
need to keep yourself updated.
When you leave India, you must have the following
documents with you
A passport that is valid for a minimum period of six months, with a valid visa from the
host country.
An emigration clearance document provided by the Protector of Emigrants.
A copy of your valid Indian insurance certificate (Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana).
You only need your passport with the emigration clearance to show the immigration
officer in the airport in India. However,you shouldkeep a copy of your:
job offer letter that has been attested by the Indian Mission; and
medical examination report.
Leave a copy of your documents with your family or a friend. Make sure you make
copies of all the documents mentioned above and leave a set with your family or a friend
in India. Keep a set of copies with you as well. If you have a telephone that takes photos,
you should take pictures of all your documents in case your paper copies are lost or
damaged.
3
Check your sponsor/employer details. Check the exact details (name, address,
telephone number) of your sponsor/employer (kafeel) – whether it is a person or a
company. If possible, talk to your employer before leaving India. Also, tell your family
the name,phonenumber and addressof your employer.
Keep recruitment agency receipts and details. If you used a recruitment agency, write
down its name, address, contact person and number (and give to your family or a friend
and keep the information with you). Remember to keep the receipts for all payments
made to the agency somewhere safe.
Talk to others before leaving. Talk to people who are either working in or have worked
in Kuwait in the recent past to learn basic information about the living and working
conditions.
Travelling to Kuwait
Money. Always carry some money (in US dollars) while
travelling
Drugs. Carrying drugs and other narcotic substances is
subject to harsh punishment in Kuwait. You must be
extremely careful not to accept any gift or item from anyone,
not even from close relatives, when travelling to Kuwait.
Medicines. If you need to carry medicines, remember to
carry along the doctor's prescription.
Other banned items. Religious literature, liquor, obscene
video cassettes or CDs and other obscene literature are
banned in Kuwait. Carrying such material is subject to
punishment.
Upon Arrival
You must be aware of how to make a telephone call. In case no one comes to pick you up at
the airport in Kuwait, you need to call your employer. If your employer does not respond,
call the Indian Embassy.
4
Contract
Every Indian who works in Kuwait should have a contract arranged before departing,
with all the necessary details of the work and the provided accommodation and
benefits.
A contract is important because it is a
legal document that states the duties and
obligations of both your employer and
you, the worker. Make sure to keep a copy
of the contract with your family or a friend
and take a copy with you.
It is always better to have your job offer
letter or contract verified (authenticated)
by the Indian Embassy. It should be
signed by the employer and an Embassy
officer. With this verification, the minimum
salary is guaranteed (this entitlement is
confirmed on the Indian Embassy website).
For knowing whether a Recruitment Agent
(RA) is registered with the Ministry or not/
whether the RA is active or not, please
check the section under Recruiting Agents
(RAs) on the website of the Government of
India (www.moia.gov.in).
The Indian Ministry maintains a prior approval list of employers. Check that your
employer is on the list. This list is a v a i l a b l e o n t h e M O IA w e b s i t e
(www.moia.gov.in)
You might be asked to sign the original contract after arriving in Kuwait. When you
are asked to sign the contract (either in India or in Kuwait, or both), read it
carefully and make sure you understand all the terms mentioned in it before you
sign it. If you are unable to read or understand the contract, ask someone you trust to
help you review the contract.
If you are asked to sign a second (the original) contract in Kuwait, verify that the
content and terms are the same as in the contract you signed in India or that were
mentioned to you in India. If in doubt, seek support of the Indian Embassy.
5
Your employment contract should include the following details
Your name, passport number, nationality, profession, qualification, residence.
Your employer's name, company address and/or location of your work.
Contract commencement date and the terms and conditions of the employment.
Duration of the contract and details of the initial probation period (not more than six
months).
Your job responsibilities and working hours and overtime, if any.
Basic salary and allowances, including food and accommodation facilities.
How the overtime pay is calculated.
Information on medical coverage or insurance.
Duration of annual leave and entitled holiday or leave days (medical or maternity
leave) and terms for airplane tickets.
End-of-service benefits.
Termination and renewal terms of the contract.
An employment contract may be of a limited or unlimited period. A limited
employment contract (fixed-term contract) is for a maximum period of five years,
whereas the unlimited contract has a commencement date only. Most Indian workers
have a contract for a limited term, usually two years, which can be extended.
There is no such thing as a “free visa” in Kuwait. Every visa is issued in the name of
a sponsor, and you are supposed to work strictly under that sponsor (an individual or
company). Any violation will lead to severe legal proceedings, with a hefty fine,
imprisonment and deportation.
You may be subject to a probationary period in your contract mentions it. The
probationary period should not be more than 100 working days.
Your employer must provide you with accommodation that meets your basic
needs. Most employers provide their workers with accommodation facilities for free.
Check your contract or inquire with your employer to find out if you are entitled to free
accommodation or if you need to pay for it.
As well, most employers provide their workers with food for free or a food
allowance. Check your contract or inquire with your employer to find out if you are
entitled to food or if you need to pay for it.
6
Know the following after reaching Kuwait
You must be aware of how to use telephones at the airport in case you are stranded there or
any other place; in such a case, you should telephone your employer or the person who is
in charge, with whom you should have already talked with from India, and inform him/her
about your situation.
After you arrive in Kuwait, you must undergo a medical examination. If you are declared
unfit or fail the medical test, you will be sent back to India.
Your employer must procure medical insurance for you, valid for the duration of your
contract, and provide you with a health card (for use in accessing medical services).
Your employer must provide you with a residence permit upon your arrival in Kuwait. You
can enter the country with an entry visa, but your employer must obtain the residence
permit after you arrive. You can live and work in Kuwait only with a residence permit. You
cannot work with other visas, such as a family or dependant visa. You can only be granted a
residence permit after your employer has obtained medical insurance for you.
After receiving your residence permit, your employer must obtain an identity card (civil ID
card) for you. The residence permit and ID card are evidence of your legal status in Kuwait.
Your employer cannot make deductions from your wages except in the following cases:
if you have taken an advance (deduction at any one time should not be more than 10%
of your salary and must be interest free); or
as penalty for not following the rules and regulations of the workplace.
Your employer cannot make any other deductions from your salary, including for medical
insurance fees, insurance premiums, work permit costs, etc.
7
Your employer cannot reduce your salary for the entire contract duration.
You cannot change your employer or work for another unless you obtain the permission of
your current employer. You must work for the same employer who signed your contract.
You will be an irregular worker as soon as you leave your employer and will be charged for
absconding, fined up to 600 dinars or sentenced up to six months in prison. If you
experience any problems with your employer, contact the Indian Embassy or other
organizations listed at the back of this booklet for assistance. You need to keep yourself
updated regarding any new rules or regulations.
However, after working for a year in Kuwait,
you may change your employer if your
employer grants you the permission. After
three years, you can change your employer
without permission. (This is not applicable for
domestic workers – who cannot ever change
the employer). If you are a domestic worker
and run away from your employer, you must
inform the Indian Embassy.
With the exception of domestic workers and maritime employees, the law provides
workers with restricted rights to join trade unions.
You should stay in regular contact with your family. Agree that if they do not hear from you
within a certain period of time that they should seek help. You are free to communicate with
your family and friends during your non-working time. You can buy a SIM card for your
telephone once you receive your ID card.
There are several groups of Indian workers in Kuwait, some of them based on the home
state of the members. You should consider joining one of these groups; keep in contact
with them and seek their help in case you encounter any problems.
You must return to your country once your contract expires. If you are dismissed (fired) or
if you are declared unfit for work, you might be repatriated to India. Your employer must
provide you with a return airplane ticket, unless you resign or are dismissed. If your
contract mentions it, your employer may also provide you an airplane ticket to travel for
your annual leave.
You may be able to renew your contract, with the mutual agreement of the employer, at the
end of its active period. If so, you must also make sure your passport, visa, residence
permit, ID card and medical insurance are also renewed and updated.
8
Your rights as a migrant worker in Kuwait
As a registered migrant worker of any age, you have the right to complain and seek
protection if any of your rights are violated or if you have been abused by your
employer. If you think you have been cheated, wronged or treated in a way that
discriminates against you because you are not a citizen of Kuwait, your rights may have
been abused. See the contact details at the back of this booklet and seek assistance.
Women and men have the right to receive the same wages when the work is the same.
The following explains some of your rights as a migrant worker.
You have the right to keep your documents. Keep your
passport, visa, work permit and employment documents
with you all the time. Additionally, your employer must give
you a residence permit. Do not give the originals to your
employer or your recruitment agent, even if they promise to
keep it safe. Make sure you photocopy all the new documents
and send the copies to your family (or a friend) back home.
Also keep a copy with you.
You are entitled to and can demand the remuneration and
the accommodation facilities that are mentioned in the
contract. You also have the right to refuse work that is not
mentioned in the contract.
You have the right to be paid once a month, on a working
day. Your wages are to be in the local currency (dinar), and
your wages are to be deposited into your bank account.
You have the right to be paid for work completed even if
you are arrested, if you quit your job or if you are
dismissed. Your employer cannot withhold your wages
under any circumstance.
You have the right to paid for an annual leave of 30 days per
year. In the first year, you are entitled to the leave only after at
least nine months of employment. You have the right to be
paid for anyunused leave days. If in doubt, contact one of the
groups listed at the back of this booklet for assistance.
9
You have the right to take medical leave. But you will need a
medical certificate from a doctor and you must inform your
employer within two days of being absent. You can avail of the
discount and privileges of your health card for treatment and
medicines at the specified hospitals and clinics. You are
provided some treatments free of charge or you may be
charged a minimal fee.
You have the right to receive 75,000 rupees (INR) if you are
hospitalized due to an emergency through the Indian
migrants' insurance scheme (Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana).
You have the right to receive your income during a period of
illness. Based on your medical report, each year you are
entitled to a maximum of 15 days of sick leave with full pay, the
next 10 days with three-quarters' pay, the subsequent 10 days
with half pay, then another 10 days with quarter pay and the
remaining 30 days without pay.
You have the right to one day off each week. You can refuse to
work on your day off. If you agree to work on the weekly day
off, your employer should pay you an additional 50% of the
basic wage.
You have the right to working days off during the official
holidays of Kuwait with full pay. There are 13 official public
holidays in Kuwait every year.
You have the right to rest time of at least one hour per day
during working hours. This rest time must be offered not
more than five hours after you started working. Rest time is
not counted as part of the working hours.
10
You have the right to refuse to work overtime. A workday is
eight hours and a workweek is 48 hours. If you agree to work
more than the normal working hours, your employer is
required to pay you overtime (normal working hours' pay
plus an additional 25% of the basic wage). Overtime should
not exceed two hours per day.
You have the right to go out of your workplace during your
free time. Make sure you carry your ID card with you at all
times. You might be stopped by the police and asked to show
it.
You have the right to freedom of movement. Your employer
cannot restrict your movement. Your employer does not have
the right to lock your room. You have the right to lock your
room from the inside.
You have the right to travel anywhere in Kuwait. It is best to
inform your employer if you are planning to travel.
If you are a domestic worker, some of the rights explained below may not
apply to you. You need to negotiate these with your employer. Although the
Labour Law does not cover domestic work, you are entitled to termination
notice, unpaid wages protection, payment of your wage into a bank account,
accommodation and protection against abuse.
11
How to defend your rights
If your employer breaches the terms and conditions of the
employment, you can file a complaint with the Labour
Department. For instance, you can file a complaint if your
employer delays payment of your wages or does not pay
you, makes wrongful deductions from your wages, makes
you work extra hours without pay or does not allow you to
take the leave you are entitled to as per your contract. You
can also file a complaint if your employer mistreats you or
abuses you physically or sexually. Your complaint must be
made within one year from the expiry of the employment
contract.
If you are a domestic worker and experience any difficulty, seek the help of the
Indian Embassy or the police because domestic workers are not protected by the
Labour Law. Thus, the Labour Department does not have the authority to provide its
services to domestic workers.
If you think you have been wrongfully dismissed by your employer, you have the
right to appeal the termination decision to the Labour Department. Your employer can
only dismiss you for serious reasons, such as a fault that results in gross loss for your
employer, for repeatedly disobeying instructions, other disciplinary issues or being
absent from work for more than seven consecutive days without notice.
If you are charged for violating the rules and regulations of your workplace, you are
entitled to a written notification of that violation and opportunity to defend yourself. If
you experience any difficulty in filing a complaint to the Labour Department, you can
seek the help of the Indian Embassy or other organizations in Kuwait. See the back of
this booklet for contacts.
If you are insured from India (under the Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana, or PBBY),
you are entitled to INR30,000 for legal expenses, provided the necessity of the case is
certified by the appropriate Ministry.
12
In case of a workplace injury or occupationrelated illness for which you are not satisfied
with the medical report, in particular regarding the
period of treatment, the extent of a disability or
your ability to resume work, you have the right to
object the medical report to the Medical Tribunal at
the Ministry of Health within one month of its issue.
. If you are in trouble, you can contact the Indian Embassy through a toll-free
telephone number: 00-965-2-567-4163. This number is accessible from anywhere in
Kuwait and provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic workers
regarding their grievances, immigration and other matters in Hindi, Malayalam,
Tamil, Telegu, Arabic and English. The helpline operates through a multiple-line call
centre and calls can be tracked back to their source, if you do not know your location.
Through the Indian Embassy, qualified Kuwaiti and Indian lawyers are available to
provide free legal advice to Indian nationals on labour disputes, terms of contracts
with employers and withholding of wages by employers.
In India, Complaints for any foreign employment-related issues can be made with
the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. If you have been deceived by your agent in
India by sending you to a job that is different from what is stated in your contract or
the terms and conditions of work differ from what was agreed upon or you are not
sent abroad after paying the agent money, you, your family or a friend can file a
complaint with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Complaints can be filed even if
you are abroad. You can also call the Government of India's toll-free number: 1-80011-3090 (for MTNL/BSNL) or the hotline number: 00-91-11-4-050-3090 to file a
complaint. This service is available in 11 languages.
If you are stranded in Kuwait or are unable to return to India, you can seek the help
of the Indian Embassy for rescue and repatriation. If you are a domestic worker, you
may even be entitled to boarding and lodging through the Indian Community Welfare
Fund. This Fund also provides emergency medical care, legal assistance and financial
assistance for flight expenses. The Fund can also be used for airlifting the mortal
remains to India or local cremation/burial of a deceased worker overseas if the
sponsor is unable or unwilling to pay(if required by the contract) and the family is
unable to pay the expense.
13
Your responsibilities as a migrant worker in Kuwait
If you experience problems at work, talk to your family, a friend, your employer or to the
recruitment agency first. If the problem is not resolved, you should contact the Labour and
Social Welfare Officer in the Indian Embassy, the Kuwaiti Labour Department or any
organization listed at the back of this bookletfor help.
If you want to take leave from your job (for personal reason or vacation), make sure you
inform your employer beforehand. Taking an extended leave without telling your
employer could be cause for terminating your contract.
Take care of your health. If you are sick and cannot
go to work, go for a check-up and take a rest. But
remember to inform your employer or supervisor
as soon as possible and obtain a medical certificate
(report) after the check-up.
Many workers die from cardiac arrest due to
simultaneous exposure to extreme heat and
extreme cold. If you work outdoors, do not turn the
air conditioner very high immediately after
returning to your room.
Takeprecautions to avoid contacting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Do not consume illegal drugs or alcohol; and do not gamble or engage in political
events. These activities are banned and considered unlawful in Kuwait.
You must abide by the rules and regulations of your workplace. The regulations
typically are displayed in a visible area in the workplace.
You must make an effort to learn the basic norms and laws of Kuwait, including traffic
rules. For example, you must always use the zebra crossing or the overhead bridge to
cross a road.
14
You must respect the culture and religion of Kuwait and never make any negative
remarks about the religion. Muslims fast for a month during Ramadan. During this
time, do not eat, drink (even water) or smoke in public during the day.
v
If you learn the language – Arabic – it will benefit you.
v
Youshould be respectfulto women and never tease them, ogle or stare at them.
You must check the expiry dates of your documents, including passport, residence
permit and ID card. To renew your passport, go to the Indian Embassy; for other
documents, inform your employer well in advance of their expiration date.
You can send money back to your family through a bank or money transfer company,
such as the International Money Express (IME), Western Union and Moneygram. It is
not safe to remit through the hundi system or send money with another person unless
you completely trust that person.
You may also directly deposit your earnings into your or your family's bank account in
India. It will benefit you as savings when you return.
Know your status
Am I a regular migrant worker?
A regular migrant requires a passport, visa and work
permit. You can receive these by entering Kuwait
through a licensed recruitment agency based in
India or even individually by following the necessary
procedures. The labour contract will be given by the
employer or his/her recruiting agent and should be
attested by the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and
the Indian Embassy. Upon your arrival in Kuwait, the
civil ID is evidence of your legal status. If you do not
have these documents, the Government will regard
you as an irregular worker; it is illegal then for you to
work in Kuwait. Seek help from one of the
organizations listed at the back of this booklet.
When your contract finishes, if you are dismissed or if you do not obtain a medical
certificate upon first entering the country, you might be repatriated back to India.
15
Your rights as a regular migrant worker
Your employer must arrange health insurance coverage for you with an insurance
company to cover work injuries and occupation-related sickness. In case of an
accident at work or while travelling to and from work or an occupation-related illness,
you are entitled to treatment, with all expenses covered by your employer.
Workers who suffer a permanent disability or die while abroad are liable for
compensation from the Indian migrants' insurance coverage (Pravasi Bhartiya
Bima Yojana). For a disability, the amount of compensation depends on the degree of
severity. However, no insurance will be paid in cases in which a worker intentionally
injured himself/herself.
In case of an injury, the employer must inform
the police immediately. You may also report
the incident to the police. The same information
also must be reported to the Labour
Department.
If you suffer from a work-related injury or
occupational illness, you have the right to
receive wages for the entire treatment period
requested by a doctor. However, after the first six months, you are entitled to only
half of your wages for the next six months or until recovery or disability is proven,
whichever is shorter. You can also receive INR75,000 for hospitalization from the
Indian migrant's insurance scheme (PBBY)
You or your heir is also entitled to a minimum of INR1 million for a permanent
disability or death, provided you have enrolled in the PBBY insurance scheme
through the Protector of Emigrants office in India.
16
Labour disputes
If you experience a dispute with the sponsor
regarding non-payment of wages, leave, end-ofservice benefits or some other work-related issue,
you can contact the Labour and Social Welfare Wing
of the Indian Embassy to sort out the problem. If the
matter remains unresolved, then you have to file the
case with the Labour Court in Kuwait.
If you are stopped or arrested by the police
If you are stopped by a police officer for a random check, give your name, address and
other details asked for and show your ID card, if asked.
Do not allow the police officer to put his/her hands into your pockets or bags. If asked
to search your possessions, voluntarily take out your belongings yourself one by one
in front of the officer, stating the name of each item as it is removed. When your
pockets and bags are empty, turn them inside out.
Only a female officer can do a body search on a female. It must be carried out with
decency. The officer is not allowed to touch your private parts.
The police can arrest you on suspicion of committing a crime (such as theft, murder
or selling drugs), for breaking the immigration rules (overstaying, staying without
regular status) or for not being in possession of your ID card. You can be arrested for
other activities that are considered illegal and punishable as per Islamic (Sharia) law,
including public intoxication or other alcohol-related offences, homosexuality,
intimacy in public between a man and a woman or any attempt to convert a person's
religion.
Ask why you are being arrested, but do not resist. If you are arrested, you have the
right to contact the Indian Embassy for support. You can also contact your employer,
a relative, a friend, a lawyer or other individuals or organizations for support.
Try to avoid admitting to anything or signing any documents that you do not
understand. Take time to understand the charges and punishments.
17
If you are taken to a court
Ask for your court case number and a copy of your charge sheet if you are arrested
without a warrant.
You have the right to a fair trial. If you are accused of an offence, you have the right to
defend yourself. You have the right to be represented by legal counsel. Ask for a lawyer
or assistance from the Indian Embassy. Legal proceedings in Kuwait are conducted in
Arabic. Ask for an interpreter.
Take time to understand the charges and the punishment/penalty for the charge.
Do not plead guilty if you do not understand the charges. If you want to plead guilty, you
have the right to mitigate for a minimum sentence and NO whipping.
Know your rights after arrest and during detention
You have the right to know the charges
against you.
You have the right to a lawyer unless
detained at the police station for criminal
charges, which can be only for a
maximum of four days.
The bar association provides assigned
lawyers for defendants who cannot afford
one.
If you are detained or arrested, you will be
questioned and asked to give a
statement. Note the name and the rank of the police officer questioning you if you
decide to give a statement.
You are not obliged to provide a statement to the police, especially without any legal
counsel with you. Information that you give to the police can be used as evidence
against you in court if you are charged.
You have the right to remain silent, until the arrival of your lawyer. You are only
obliged to give your full name, age, address and occupation.
You have the right to contact your family, a friend, a lawyer or the Indian Embassy or
Consulate.
18
Domestic workers' rights
A Department for Domestic Labour was established under the Ministry of Interior and is
tasked with supervising agencies that recruit domestic servants.
There should be a tripartite or trilateral contract for the recruitment and employment of
domestic workersthat involves the sponsor, the recruiting agent and the worker.This
contractshould be attestedby the Indian Embassy.
Licensed agents and their employees are forbidden to charge a domestic worker any fees in
return for employment or recruitment, be it directly or indirectly.
The contract must specify
the minimum wage, which is set by the Government;
provision for adequate living facilities, food, clothing, medical care in public hospitals
and compensation for work-related injuries;
that the worker will not be employed by a third partyor another sponsor;
that sponsors are forbidden to confiscate a worker's passport;
that the worker is entitled to an airplane ticket to her/hiscountry of origin for a twomonth paid vacation after two years of service;
an eight-hour workdayand one rest dayper week;and
the monetary compensation for any overtime the employer requires.
Temporary shelter for domestic workers
A temporary shelter is designated for foreign domestic workers, especially female maids,
who have a pending dispute with their employer. The Ministry of Interior, through the
Department for Domestic Labour, supervises the location in cooperation with the Ministry of
Social Affairs and Labour.
By law, it is forbidden to shelter, house or employ any foreigner who is illegally residing in the
country.
19
Special notes for female migrants
You are entitled to the same wage as male
migrants performing the same job.
Women cannot be employed from 10
p.m. to 7 a.m., except as a domestic
worker.
Women in domestic work are particularly
vulnerable to abuse. Make sure you have
the contact number of the Indian
Embassy and that you immediately
request support in case of a problem.
In case you experience a problem that forces you to leave your employer, you can
temporarily remain in the shelter home run by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait while
waiting to return to India.
The Indian Government bans women younger than 30 from migrating for domestic
work. If you are younger than 30, please contact the Indian Embassy or its
telephone hotline.
Special notes for young migrants
Children younger than 15, including migrants,
are not allowed to work in Kuwait. If you are
underage and on your own (unaccompanied,
or not with a family member) seek help, such
as with the Labour and Social Welfare Officer
at your Embassy. Do not lie about your age if
the authorities ask you (and do not falsify your
age in any document).
20
Ways to keep safe
Be careful of anyone who befriends you
with promises of an easy job with
goodpay – they could be lying to you.
Be careful of anyone who offers to help
you find other work or offers you a better
job – they might be earning a commission
to recruit you and this could mean that
your best interests are not their top
priority.
Be careful of anyone who demands to
keep your passport or identification
documents – this leaves you vulnerable
because you need these documents to
move around. Never leave your passport
with a broker or an employer – your
passport is your personal possession and
you have the right to hold it yourself.
Learn your way around. Find the location
of the nearest religious centres as well as
police stations, hospitals and help centres.
These places can offer you sanctuary if
you are in trouble
Do not trust strangers! Even friendly ones
– male or female. However, do try to make
some friends among other Indian migrant
workers.
Do not trust a broker who tells you he/she
can register you with the authorities or
get you a work permit. If you are already
legally registered with your employer and
hold a valid work permit with that
employer, it is your employer's
responsibility to help you renew it.
21
Getting help
Phoning home. If you are living in Kuwait and want to phone home, first dial 0091 and then
your local area code and number. To dial a mobile number, dial 0091 and then the 10-digit
mobile number.
Everyone is entitled to receive help, regardless of their situation!
If you do not understand anything in this booklet or if you need help but are afraid to
approach authorities, you may contact one of the organizations listed here for assistance
without fear of arrest or deportation.
Register with the Indian Embassy
Once you arrive in Kuwait, it is always best to register with the Indian Embassy in Kuwait so
that in case of need or when you are in distress, the Embassy officials are able to help you.
Embassy of India
Diplomatic Enclave
Arabian Gulf Street
P.O. Box 1450
Safat13015 Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2253-0600,
00-965-2253-0612/13/14
Labour Section
Deputy Chief of Mission
Tel: 00-965-2251-0891
Email: [email protected]
Attaché (Labour I)
Tel: 00-965-2253-0600 – Ext: 233
Email: [email protected]
22
Attaché (Labour II)
Tel: 00-965-2253-0409,
00-965-2253-0600 – Ext: 238
Email: [email protected]
Labour Section (Domestic Workers)
Tel: 00-965-2-253-0600,
00-965-2253-0612 – Ext: 217
(inquiry about status of labour agreement)
Ext. 236, 220 & 240
(domestic labour complaints)
Labour II Section (Company workers)
Tel: 00-965-2253-0612,
00-965-2253-0600 – Ext:253
(company recruitment)
Non-government organizations
Kuwait Red Crescent Society
Kuwaiti Association of
the Basic Evaluators for
Human Rights (KABEHR)
P.O.Box 1359
Tel: 00-965-2532-1377,
00-965-9768-7715
Email: [email protected],
Website: [email protected]
Government authorities
Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour
Ministries Complex, Block 5-6
Murgab,Kuwait City
Tel: 00-965-2248-0000
Website: www.mosal.gov.kw
Helpline numbers
Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour
Police*
Ministry of Interior Operator
Ministry of Interior Police Emergency HQ
Ministry of Interior Emergency Operations
00-965-2248-0000
112
00-965-2243-3840, 00-965-2243-954
00-965-2538-2000
00-965-2538-0935
23
Cultural organizations registered with the Indian Embassy
The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in Kuwait,
constituting about 25% of the country's population. There are several cultural
associations registered with the Indian Embassy. These associations take care of the
welfare of the Indian community and conduct cultural and welfare activities regularly,
including sports activities.
Organization
Contact address
INDIAN CULTURAL SOCIETY
P.O. Box 18
AbuHalifa,54751 Kuwait
Tel mobile: 00-965-6656-8147,
00-965-9970-9495
Email: [email protected],
[email protected]
APNA BHARAT
SOCIETY – KUWAIT
P.O. Box 5484
Hawally, Kuwait
Email: [email protected],
[email protected]
Website: abskuwait.com
INDIAN ISLAHI CENTRE
KUWAIT (IIC)
P.O. Box 921
Farwaniya, Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2433-7484, 00-965-6617-1195,
00-965 9732-6896
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.iickuwait.com
TAMILNADU MUSLIM
CULTURAL ASSOCIATION
(TMCA)
HELPLINE: 00-965-9764-9800,
00-965-9442-0919
Email: [email protected]
24
Organization
Contact address
KERALA ART LOVERS
ASSOCIATION (KALA)
Jaleeb Al Shouk,
Abassiya, Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2431-7875
Email: [email protected],
[email protected]
KUWAIT KONKANNI KENDRA
P.O.Box 23365
Safat, Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2476-4113
Email: [email protected]
UNITED GOANS CENTRE
P.O. Box 21384
Safat, Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2564-4637
Email: [email protected]
THE GOAN WELFARE SOCIETY
P.O. Box 1335
Safat, Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2242-9435
Email: [email protected]
TAMIL NADU
ENGINEERS FORUM
P.O. Box 251
Abu Halifa 54753 Kuwait
Tel: 00-965-2392-6283
Telmobile: 00-965-9-987-0634
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.tefkuwait.com
GUJARATI CULTURAL
ASSOCIATION OF KUWAIT
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.samarpankuwait.com
25
You have rights – and responsibilities!
Knowing your rights and responsibilities can help you avoid abuse and
help you make the most of your time in Kuwait.
Be aware!
This booklet gives you advice on how to live and work safely
in Kuwait and what to do if you need help.
Travel Smart – Work Smart!
This booklet has been developed as a part of South Asia Labour Migration Governance project
and is based on the guide developed by the ILO GMS TRIANGLE project.
The South Asia Labour Migration Governance project is funded by the European Union
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