Kuwaiti rights body wants sponsor system scrapped


"We call for abolishing the sponsor system and for adopting a system similar to advanced countries," Nasser Al-Abdali, head of the Kuwaiti Society for the Development of Democracy, told a news conference.

"The only people who benefit from the sponsor system are the visa traders who use their influence to maintain the status quo," he charged.

Under the current system, which applies in all Gulf states, the movement and freedom of foreign workers are considerably restricted, putting them at the mercy of employers. Rights groups have slammed the sponsorship system as akin to slavery.

Abdali said visa trading in Kuwait was worth about $ 3 billion annually and charged that officials facilitated the illegal trade.

Influential people are accused of charging expatriates large sums to have their residence permits renewed every year. Thousands of Bangladeshi workers staged violent protests in Kuwait last month, demanding wages and better living conditions.

Abdali said the minimum monthly wage for any worker in Kuwait must be at least 100 dinars ($ 375) because of the high rate of inflation which currently exceeds 11 percent.



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