After the suspension of the controversial new contract that limited medical screening to only eight clinics for Filipinos bound for jobs in Kuwait, an official from the Philippine Embassy in the country has confirmed that medical examinations will now revert back through the Gulf Approved Medical Centers Association.
“I still don’t have the official report from Manila about this issue, so I cannot categorically and 100 percent explain what happened. But what I know, just this week, Kuwait has agreed to conduct again its medical checks through the GAMCA,” the official who spoke to the Kuwait Times said.
Last summer, a new contract accredited only eight clinics in Manila to process all screenings for workers coming to Kuwait. As a result, it not only created a backlog of workers, the new system also raised costs of medical screening. Medical exams through GAMCA cost P250 while the eight clinics charge as much as P8,400. Because of this, cost of hiring Filipino domestic helpers was passed on to employers in Kuwait, with rates rising from KWD800 to KWD1,300 to hire a helper. The new system earned complaints from recruiters and workers as well as sponsors.
Agencies and officials allege that the measure was implemented by parties with intention to monopolize and profit from the process of bringing domestic helpers to Kuwait.
The Kuwait Embassy in the Philippines implemented the new regulations in August 2016, awarding the medical screening to a limited number of clinics being run by Winston Q8 Certification Solutions Inc., a firm registered in Kuwait and in the Philippines. The new contract created an uproar and dramatically slowed the process of deployment for workers to Kuwait.
The government decided on March 9 to suspend the new contract and the GAMCA clinic process was restored.
There are close to 30 GAMCA approved clinics in the Philippines and with the resumption of medical checks through these clinics, the flow of Filipino workers to Kuwait should resume as normal.