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Kuwaiti union official accuses ministry of 'human trafficking'
October 14, 2014, 9:01 am

A top official representing expatriates in Kuwait has quit his position in protest over what he says is the government’s involvement in the exploitation of expat labourers.

Abdul Rahman Al Ghanim, the head of Kuwait Labor Union’s expat division, said more than 500 foreign labourers had complained of not receiving their salaries for months but government organisations were doing little to respond, Kuwait Times reported.

He claimed the Ministry of Health had employed numerous expats who did not have the required work residency visas, “which [is] human trafficking”.

The government department in charge of expatriates, the Manpower Authority, also had convinced some labourers to forfeit their overdue salaries in return for allowing them to transfer their visas to other sponsors – a promise that was not fulfilled once the labourers had signed papers to forfeit their money, Al Ghanim said.

He claimed he had unsuccessfully raised the issues with the relevant authorities on numerous occasions.

There are an estimated almost 2 million expatriates living in Kuwait, equal to about two-thirds of the population.

Last week, a survey of 14,000 expats in 160 countries by InterNations found Kuwait was the worst state to be an expat. The survey measured quality of life, ease of settling in, working abroad, family life, personal finance, and overall satisfaction living abroad.

“Kuwait ranks last in the overall country ranking. This is largely due to its low results for personal happiness and in the Ease of Settling In Index,” the report said.

“Expats in Kuwait do not think it is easy to settle down there, make friends, or feel at home. Only 5 percent of survey participants feel completely at home there, and only 7 percent find it very easy to make local friends.”

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