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Updated: September 27, 2010 17:28 IST

Ravi welcomes Kuwait decision to scrap sponsorship system

Atul Aneja
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Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has welcomed Kuwait’s decision to scrap the Kafeel (sponsorship) system for recruitment of foreign labour, which is heavily loaded in favour of employers. File photo
The Hindu Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has welcomed Kuwait’s decision to scrap the Kafeel (sponsorship) system for recruitment of foreign labour, which is heavily loaded in favour of employers. File photo

The visiting Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has welcomed Kuwait’s decision to scrap the sponsorship system for the recruitment of foreign labour, which is heavily loaded in favour of employers.

“This is a very good decision. It reflects a progressive view of the government. I welcome this decision,” Mr. Ravi said during a press conference in Dubai on Monday. The Minister said that he was confident that other countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will follow Kuwait’s example. Apart from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are part of the GCC.

On Sunday, the Al Rai newspaper quoted Mohammed Al Afasi, Kuwait’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labour as saying that the sponsorship system, known locally as Kafeel would be scrapped. Instead, a public

authority in charge of recruiting foreign workers would be established in February. After Bahrain, Kuwait will become the second country in the GCC to establish a new foreign labour recruitment regime.

Under the present system, all foreign workers have to be employed by a Kuwaiti sponsor. The foreign employees can switch jobs or leave the country only with the approval of their sponsor.

Kuwait’s decision to scrap the sponsorship system caps a series of incremental labour reforms. In December, the Kuwaiti Parliament passed a new labour law that catered for better working conditions for

labour, and jail terms for employers who failed to pay regular salaries, traded in visas or did not provide jobs to workers after recruiting them.

Earlier, addressing a Global Arab Business meeting in Ras Al-Khaimah, Mr. Ravi called upon Arab investors to pitch in their capital in India’s infrastructure development projects, based on a Public Private

Partnership (PPP) model. He pointed out that India was looking for $435 billion investment in the next three years for the development of its infrastructure. The manufacturing sector could also absorb $264 billion.

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