THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS: A CASE STUDY OF THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COUNTRIES
Domestic workers play an imperative role in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ households. It is rare to find a household without a domestic worker in the GCC. However, domestic workers are more vulnerable because they are usually excluded from the protections offered in labor laws and live inside of the household. Furthermore, the demand for domestic workers will likely increase rather than decrease due to the growing number of women participating in the job market and the growing age of GCC citizens. This dissertation reviews domestic worker laws that were adopted by the GCC countries taking into account these vulnerabilities. Different GCC countries have been working on improving the conditions for domestic workers in their states by adopting laws and regulations. The issue of domestic workers in the GCC is a complex matter with socio-economical, cultural, and legal implications that need to be contextualized in light of the history of the sponsorship system in the GCC. This dissertation looks into the best practices adopted by some countries in the GCC that are worth spreading to other GCC countries and addresses critiques from human rights organizations to improve the situation for domestic workers. Taking into account domestic workers vulnerabilities, this dissertation shows that abolishing the sponsorship system — as human rights organizations advocate — would cause problems as it would create more vulnerabilities for workers and increase resistance from employers. Moreover, the concept of sponsorship is deeply ingrained in conceptions of obligations owed between migrant domestic workers and employers in the Gulf region. This dissertation argues that the concept of sponsorship should be reformed rather than abolished by shifting the sponsorship system from individual employers to the state and a regional recruitment body.This dissertation proposes creating a unified contract for domestic workers heading to GCC countries and also proposes a unified law for domestic workers in all GCC countries. The dissertation proposes establishment of a GCC body to handle the recruitment of migrant domestic workers heading to the GCC countries, which will be beneficial for the well-being of workers and address the attacks on the GCC regarding the sponsorship system.
NotesDegree Awarded: S.J.D. Washington College of Law. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. Washington College of Law