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Kuwait looking to legalise status of 80,000 expats
April 28, 2014, 2:02 pm

Kuwait is looking into a study that would help formalise the situation of 80,000 foreigners staying illegally in the country, a senior interior ministry official has said.

“The study has been prepared to help with the effort by the ministry to put an end to the phenomenon of non-Kuwaitis living without proper documentation,” Shaikh Ahmad Al Nawaf, the assistant undersecretary for nationality and passports, has said.

The study calls for introducing a grace period that allows the foreigners to adjust their situation and make it compliant with the country’s laws and rules.

The amnesty period that should also allow employers to take the necessary measures to secure their rights is to be decided by the interior minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid, Shaikh Ahmad said.

“Most of those who are breaking the law by staying illegally in Kuwait have been the victims of circumstances,” he said.

“There are those who have come under intense pressure from their employers and they were forced to break the law.

“There are also violators who were victims of abuses by companies. We will listen to them and look into ways to rectify their legal situation.

“However, the law will be applied fully against those who deliberately broke the law,” he said, quoted in local daily Al Seyassah on Monday.

The newspaper added there were more than 119,000 people wanted in connection with legal cases.

“Despite the efforts put up by the directorate to reduce the number of these people, we do have logistics issues, such as the limited number of employees to apprehend them and also the low number of modern vehicles to be used for that purpose,” he said.

“Suspects are often apprehended in security campaigns or when they contact an official agency or when they are about to travel.”

Shaikh Ahmad said there were no new elements in the ban imposed on six nationalities to enter Kuwait.

Nationals from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been barred from entering Kuwait since 2011.

The move was attributed to the “difficult security conditions in the six countries” and to “the remarkably increasing tendency of Kuwait-based nationals from these countries to apply for visas to bring into Kuwait relatives who faced or could face serious challenges in their home countries.”

Kuwait is home to around 2.2 million expatriates, making up two thirds of the total population. The interior ministry has regularly issued visit visas to their relatives who fulfil the requirements.


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