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Kuwait set to intensify visa investigations
May 14, 2014, 1:54 pm

Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour has for the second time this month announced a crackdown on companies recruiting foreigners to the country and then abandoning them – in what it described as “human trafficking”.

Thirty-four employers already have been referred to the public prosecution to be questioned over trafficking accusations, the ministry announced on May 4.

Authorities investigated almost 2500 companies during the first quarter of 2014, according to Al Jarida newspaper. The figure is a significant increase on past years as Kuwait attempts to better regulate its expat workforce.

Convicted employers face between 15 years and life in jail.

Social Affairs and Labour Minister Hind Al Subaih said so far this year the ministry had cancelled 3325 workers’ visas because the expats were not working for the employer listed on their visa.

She said the ministry would intensify its investigations of employers suspected of “human trafficking”.

“We felt that we cannot show leniency towards employers who violate article 10 of paragraph 2 of the labor law, which indicates that an employer cannot recruit workers from outside, then fail to provide jobs for them, or it turns out that the company is not actually in need for them,” Al Subaih was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.

Kuwait has suspended the issuing of new work visas while it prepares to launch a new authority with exclusive powers to hire, sponsor and provide foreign workers to private companies, meaning employers would no longer be the sponsor.

The authority is due to come into effect this month, it was reported.

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