GCC to tighten gender tests for expat workers



JEDDAH: Ibrahim Naffee

Published — Wednesday 9 October 2013

Last update 8 November 2013 4:06 am

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The Kuwait Ministry of Health has proposed tightening genetic tests for immigrant workers in order to prevent transgender migrants from entering the GCC job market.
Tawfiq Khojah, director-general of the Executive Office at the GCC Health Council, said, “The health checklist for migrant workers now contains a mandatory examination to determine gender.” 
These constrictions are necessary to preserve Islamic principles, he added. The proposal will be made in a meeting for the Central Committee for foreign workers’ at the Health Council to be held on Nov. 11, Khojah told Arab News. 
“Undergoing the test will become mandatory for an estimated 289 health centers across the GCC if the Health Council approves the proposal of tighter controls on gender tests for migrant workers. More than 2 million expatriate workers underwent the new gender tests in 2012,” he said.
Youssef Mendkar, director of the Public Health Department at the Kuwait Ministry of Health, confirmed that the proposal aims to prevent transgender migrants from working in GCC countries. The tests determine the gender at birth.
Gender is also determined through the worker’s medical history. According to local media, sex conversion operations are considered normal in some countries which supply manpower to GCC countries.
He said that statistics from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Interior show that some foreign workers had a different gender recorded on their identity documents.

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