The Philippines Monday expanded a ban on its citizens working in Kuwait after President Rodrigo Duterte angrily lashed out at the Gulf state over reports of Filipino workers suffering abuse and exploitation.
Authorities say 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids. They are among over two million employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy.
But Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello Monday announced a "total ban" on new employment in the country, including Filipinos who had already obtained employment permits but had not yet left for the wealthy oil-producing country.
Authorities have not ruled out revoking the permits of Filipinos currently working in Kuwait or of previous hires returning on new contracts.
"With the advent of the series of reports involving abuses and deaths of overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all overseas workers ... is hereby enforced," Bello said, reading an order.