Philippines firm in protecting OFWs after Kuwait visa ban
MANILA, Philippines — After Kuwait imposed a ban on the issuance of new visas for Filipinos, the Philippines explained to the Gulf state that all actions taken by its government and foreign embassy were for the safety and welfare of its nationals.
The Philippine government on Thursday said officials from the two countries spoke at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait from May 16 to 17.
It noted that the Philippine delegation had expressed respect for the Kuwaiti laws and appreciation for their “hospitality” to more than 200,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the country.
“On issues related to services being rendered to our migrant workers, the delegation explained that all actions taken by the Philippine embassy and the Philippine government are solely to ensure the safety and welfare of our own nationals,” the government said in a statement.
It further stressed: “Providing protection to a country’s citizens abroad is a well-established duty of consular offices under international law and conventions.”
Although it did not directly state updates about the visa issuance ban, the government reaffirmed its openness to “constructive dialogue on how to address current concerns.”
The meeting between Filipino and Kuwaiti officials came more than a week after the Gulf nation indefinitely suspended the issuance of new visas for Filipinos, citing the Asian country’s supposed violations of their bilateral labor agreement.
Kuwait made the surprising move months after the Philippines halted the deployment of first-time Filipino domestic workers bound for the Middle Eastern country.
This deployment ban followed the gruesome killing of OFW Jullebee Ranara, reportedly at the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.