Following the Money: The Kafala System and Chain of Domestic Workers’ Migration

Following the Money: The Kafala System and Chain of Domestic Workers’ Migration

December 2020

The Kafala sponsorship system is a set of policies and laws that tie migrant workers’ status to their sponsor. Migrant domestic workers are governed by this system and excluded from labour laws in the Middle East and Gulf countries.

This session at Global South Women’s Forum 2020 addresses the interlinkages between domestic work, care labour, and the absence of institutional care as they create push and pull factors throughout the migration chain for women domestic workers seeking employment and their countries of origin and destination. It also addresses how the Kafala system manifests in the countries of destination, as well as in those of origin through the policies reliance on remittances.

Positioned in a peculiar space of intersecting oppressions related to gender, economic status, ethnicity and race, and coming from countries of the Global South burdened by histories of colonisation, domestic work provides ample space for a conversation on the faults in our economy, especially epitomised by the Kafala.

Fish Ip, International Domestic Workers Federation
Roula Seghaier, International Domestic Workers Federation
Ruth Khakame, Kenyan Union for Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA)
Mary Ann Abunda, SANDIGAN Kuwait Domestic Workers Association
Marina Durano, Open Society Foundations Women’s Rights Program

Duration: 1:12:54
Subtitles: None

See also the session report [PDF].