Kuwait on Lifting the Deployment Ban 2023-2024

  The deployment ban preventing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from entering Kuwait has had a considerable impact on numerous Filipino families who depend on overseas employment. This listicle summarizes important occurrences that led to the Kuwaiti government lifting the deployment ban on June 23, 2024.

Philippine Flag with Kuwait Flag (Deployment Ban)
(© Ayman Mat)

7 Key Milestones in Lifting the Deployment Ban on Filipino Workers

1. January 2023: Tragic Incident

The deployment ban originated on January 21, 2023, following the tragic discovery of the remains of Filipino maid Jullebee Ranara in Kuwait. The perpetrator, a 17-year-old son of her employer, confessed to the crime. This heartbreaking incident led the Philippine government to implement a partial deployment ban on newly hired Filipino domestic workers heading to Kuwait, primarily protecting the welfare of its citizens working overseas.  

2. February 2023: Partial Deployment Ban Imposed

In February 2023, the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) implemented a partial deployment restriction. This action was taken to safeguard newly recruited household workers from possible mistreatment and abuse by employers in Kuwait. This recent restriction marked the third instance in five years, underscoring persistent apprehensions regarding the well-being of Filipino workers in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano hold a press conference in Kuwait City about the Partial Deployment Ban.
Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano hold a press conference in Kuwait City about the Partial Deployment Ban (© Benar News )

3. May 2023: Visa Issuance Suspension by Kuwait

On May 12, 2023, Kuwait decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of new visas to Filipinos in response to the Philippines’ deployment ban. This measure has presented additional challenges for Filipino workers in Kuwait and individuals who were planning to seek employment there, leading to increased strain on bilateral relations.  

4. October 2023: Presidential Announcement

During the ASEAN-GCC Meeting in Saudi Arabia on October 21, 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated that the deployment ban would soon be removed following a discussion with the Crown Prince of Kuwait. The Crown Prince expressed regret for the events that led to the ban, and both leaders mutually agreed to lift the ban to improve bilateral relations.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (© Abante Tonite)

5. March 11, 2024: Call for Reevaluation

On March 11, 2024, Representative Ron P. Salo, who chairs the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, fervently urged a reassessment and removal of the ban on deploying workers to Kuwait. During his address to the House of Representatives, Rep. Salo stressed the necessity of clarity regarding the DMW’s plans and campaigned for proactive measures to safeguard Filipino migrant workers.  

6. May 21, 2024: Discussions with DFA Officials

On May 21, 2024, Representative Ron P. Salo held discussions with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), including Assistant Secretaries Mardomel Melicor and Robert Ferrer. The meeting focused on the current deployment ban to Kuwait and emphasized the protection of the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). This engagement reflects ongoing initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Filipino workers overseas and the possibility of lifting the deployment ban.

Representative Ron P. Salo discusses with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) about lifting the Deployment Ban
Representative Ron P. Salo discusses with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) about lifting the Deployment Ban (© Official Facebook Page of Hon. Ron P. Salo)

7. June 23, 2024: Bilateral Meeting and Agreement

The turning point occurred on June 23, 2024, during a bilateral meeting at Seif Palace in Kuwait where Philippine Migrant Workers Undersecretary Bernard Olalia and Kuwaiti officials successfully negotiated in lifting the deployment ban. This meeting proved fruitful, with both sides agreeing to:

  • Lift the Deployment Ban: The move aimed to re-establish a flow of skilled Filipino workers to Kuwait, including experienced domestic workers.
  • Establish a Joint Committee: A dedicated committee with representatives from both countries was formed to address future concerns and ensure a smooth working relationship based on the “Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers” signed in 2018.

The discussions, presided over by His Excellency Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah, led to several key agreements, including the resumption of visa issuance for Filipino workers.  

WATCH THE LIFTING OF THE BAN HERE:

Visa Resumption and Recruitment Guidelines

The removal of the Deployment Ban on sending Filipino workers to Kuwait is a positive change, but it’s understandable to have inquiries about the specific steps for restarting visa issuance and hiring of workers. Here are some important points:

Visa Resumption

  • Who is Eligible? As per the agreement, Kuwait has removed the visa restriction for all Filipino laborers, encompassing those with specialized skills and seasoned domestic workers. This indicates that Filipinos meeting the required credentials and having job arrangements can now seek work visas in Kuwait.
  • Specific Requirements: The general ban has been removed, but visa prerequisites might differ based on the job category and employer. It is important to seek advice from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and trustworthy recruitment firms to stay updated on the mandatory paperwork and processes.
  • Processing Time: The specific processing timeline for visas is currently uncertain. It is advisable to exercise patience as both governments adapt to the new system.

Recruitment Guidelines

  • Focus on Experienced Domestic Workers: The agreement gives first priority to hiring Filipino domestic workers with prior experience working abroad. This means we will focus on selecting individuals who are qualified and can adjust easily, potentially reducing risks.
  • POEA Regulations Still Apply: The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) plays a crucial role in worker protection. Filipino workers heading to Kuwait will still be subject to the existing POEA regulations concerning recruitment, training, and pre-departure orientation.
  • Role of Recruitment Agencies: Recruitment agencies with proper licenses are expected to have a major impact on helping both employers and workers through the process. It is crucial to select trustworthy agencies that give importance to ethical practices and the well-being of workers.

Staying Informed

The situation is still evolving, so staying updated on official government channels and reputable news sources is crucial. This will help ensure you have the most recent information regarding visa requirements, recruitment procedures, and any additional details that may emerge.   Remember It is important to keep in mind that prioritizing your safety and well-being is crucial, even with the recent efforts and success in lifting the deployment ban. Always make sure to conduct thorough research on potential employers and recruitment agencies before entering into any agreements. If you have any concerns or questions, do not hesitate to seek assistance from the POEA or the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.  

IMPORTANT RESOURCES

WATCH Kuwait On Lifiting the Deployment Ban:

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