Philippines lifts ban for Kuwait-bound workers

A woman passes help wanted signs outside a recruitment agency for jobs abroad in Manila. (AP)

The Philippines on Wednesday lifted its ban on migrant workers heading to jobs in Kuwait, capping a diplomatic row sparked when a murdered Filipina maid was found in her employer’s freezer.

The news comes days after Kuwait and the Philippines inked a deal to regulate and protect the hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers who seek higher-paid jobs in the wealthy Gulf state.

The spat, simmering for months, reached its lowest point last month when Kuwaiti authorities expelled Manila’s envoy over videos showing embassy staff helping Filipino workers flee allegedly abusive bosses in Kuwait.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tonight (Wednesday) instructed Secretary Silvestre Bello to totally lift the ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

Around 262,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, nearly 60 percent of them domestic workers, according to the Philippine foreign ministry.

They are among the millions of its citizens the Philippines has sent to work abroad, seeking salaries they cannot get in their relatively impoverished nation.

The money they send back home accounts for about 10 percent of the Philippine economy.

Duterte lashed out at Kuwait, alleging Arab employers routinely rape Filipina workers, force them to work 21 hours a day and feed them scraps.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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