A couple of days ago I watched the debate on Al Jazeera news concerning the nature of sponsorship system in the GCC countries for the expatriate workers. The human rights watch based in New York has released data that sponsorship in GCC countries was a system that enable a modern day human trafficking. Bahrain even likened the sponsorship system to a modern day bondage labor.
Sponsorship in GCC counties is a mode of system in hiring expat workers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia and The Philippines that has a stricter rule in which every hired expat workers kept under the mercy of the bosses. Often time expat workers were tied in the neck by keeping their passport from their bosses in order to avoid absconding, sometimes abused by not giving benefits and salary agreed upon the contract.
The Human Rights Watch submitted resolution to GCC countries and recommendations of changing the system however, only Bahrain and Kuwait responded to the resolution making Kuwait next to Bahrain to abolish such sponsorship practice. Approximately 45 million expat workers in the GCC countries will benefit if to abolish the sponsorship practice. This worker has given a broader freedom to look for a new job without prior approval of their sponsor after 3 years of service.
In Kuwait, according to the Times of Oman, parliament submitted a new labor law that grants better rights and conditions replacing the old law that was highly criticized as being favourable to the employers at the expense of workers. The new legislation provides better annual leave, end of service benefits and holidays. It also sets tougher penalties, including jail terms for businessmen who trade in visa or who recruit expat workers and then fail to provide those jobs or even fail to give a regular salary. A minimum wage for certain job categories has also been introduced in the new legislation.
Source of Information:
Al Jazeera News Channel
Times of Oman issue Sept. 27, 2010