OFWs using commercial visas in Kuwait encounter problems such as unpaid salaries, maltreatment and more. Photo credit to kuwait.embassyhomepage.com

Manila, Philippines – Filipinos preferably Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are warned by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) against using commercial visas to be able to work in Kuwait.

According to DOLE, they have been continuously receiving complaints that Filipino workers that were deployed to Kuwait on commercial visas have been encountering predicaments such as unpaid salaries, maltreatment or harassment, and unissued residence and work visas.

According to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) based in the Arab state, the companies in Kuwait that are listed below has plenty of complaints from OFWs on their working conditions:

• Next Spa Salon
• Al Wazzan Home Care
• Al Bremi International
• Basco Camp
• Latino Spa
• Arabtec Construction Co.
• SITCO Group of Companies and
• Raneem Beauty Salon

According to Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait David Des T. Dicang, in some of these companies, surprisingly has large numbers of workers that had been employed through commercial visas.

He added that the case of Raneem Beauty Salon, there were 47 workers that have been processed on commercial visas for only 1 company.

DOLE added that Kuwaiti commercial visit visa is only for job evaluation or interview, and not actual employment.

A worker on a commercial visa is supposed to travel back to his country of origin and return to Kuwait on a work visa. But in reality, companies in Kuwait getting workers on commercial visa convert the commercial visas into work visa since this is a faster and less-cumbersome way to employ workers from the Philippines.”

Dicang said in a statement that Some Filipino workers on commercial visas are sometimes required to exit Kuwait to a third country, such as Bahrain, and return to Kuwait at the workers’ expense to process their work visas.

The Philippine government will be in no position to verify the terms and conditions of a Filipino’s employment in Kuwait if he or she went to the Arab state on a commercial visa that was converted into a work visa, this is according to DOLE.

Meanwhile, in most cases, the employee is not provided a copy of an employment contract or does not have one, according to Dicang.

A Filipino who has worked in Kuwait on a commercial visa will have no right to file employment-related complaints before the Arab state’s Ministry of Labor or Shuon. As a last resort, a worker with an expired visa will have to pay large penalty fees or karama, or else submit to detention and subsequent deportation.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to look into this matter in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, and other concerned government agencies.