Kuwait has suspended all new visas for Philippine nationals indefinitely, the interior ministry confirmed this week, in an escalation of a row between the Gulf state and Manila over worker protections and employer rights.
Philippine nationals make up around six per cent of Kuwait’s 4.7 million population, government data shows. Kuwaitis make up 32pc.
The visa suspension comes after the Philippines in February stopped the first-time deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait after the body of domestic worker Jullebee Ranara was found in the Kuwaiti desert in January.
Large numbers of Philippine citizens work overseas, with around 10pc of its gross domestic product coming from remittances. Many work in Gulf states as domestic workers.
The interior ministry on Wednesday said the Philippines had violated a bilateral labour agreement. The two countries signed an agreement in 2018 following a previous row over worker protections in the wake of several domestic worker deaths.
A week ago the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said all actions taken by the Philippines Embassy and government are “to ensure the safety and welfare of our own nationals”.
“Providing protection to a country’s citizens abroad is a well-established duty of consular offices under international law and conventions,” the statement said.