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Kuwait relaxes stand on illegal expatriates
August 9, 2014, 5:37 pm

A senior Interior Ministry official told the media that illegal workers detected in Kuwait will now be given the opportunity to legalise their status rather than be deported. The apparent move in favor of expats will be implemented in lieu of an amnesty, which would have allowed illegal residents to leave the country without retribution. In Kuwait, illegal residents who are caught are usually deported and banned from the country, without a means of appeal.

“Now residency violators can pay the penalties and transfer their visa to remain in Kuwait,” Adel Al Hashash, head of public relations and moral guidance at the Interior Ministry, was quoted as saying. “Also, the ministry has set a maximum limit for the penalty for one year at KD600 only instead of KD730 previously.”

The government also has frozen the issuance of new work visas until early next year, when a new Public Authority for Manpower is expected to be established. Director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) Mohammed Al Hamidi said the amendment favored expats. It is in vast contrast to the policy of former minister of social affairs and labor Thekra Al Rasheedi, who last year announced a plan to cut the number of expats by one million. An amnesty in Saudi Arabia last year led to more than one million of the kingdom’s then nine million expats to leave.

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