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Committee to investigate visa fraud in Kuwait
January 23, 2014, 11:48 am

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has established a committee to investigate alleged visa fraud, with six members of the ruling Al Sabah family among those implicated.

The committee appears to be working in parallel to a separate parliamentary committee formed last week when it was reported that at least six members of the Al Sabah family were under investigation for being involved in a massive visa fraud ring.

The fraud is alleged to have occurred within the Ministry of Interior, where the ring leader is alleged to be a former director and direct relative of Sheikh Ahmad Al Hmoud Al Sabah, who resigned as Interior Minister in August.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred during Sheikh Ahmad’s tenure as minister, Arabic daily Al Rai has previously reported.

At least one member of the Al Sabah family is accused of making KD100,000 ($354,007) a month from issuing illegal visas.

The allegations also have led to authorities stripping more than 40,000 foreign workers of their visas because they were believed to have been issued by illegal visa traders.

Last week about 1000 companies were found to have been illegally operating as visa distributors and were referred to the public prosecution.

The Ministry’s committee has been given only one month to complete its work, including gathering complaints, evidence and information as well as identify how visa trafficking has been able to exist for a significant period of time, an unnamed source told Kuwait Times.

The members will also make recommendations on how to clampdown on visa fraud.

Any suspected visa trafficker would be referred to the prosecution.

The government estimates there are about 100,000 illegal workers in the country, many of whom are recruited by unscrupulous fraudsters who offer jobs on low wages and demand a hefty recruitment fee.

About two-thirds of Kuwait’s population are foreign workers.

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