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Kuwait offers ‘illegal’ workers amnesty

The National Assembly of Kuwait building, 16th April 2009 [Xiquinhosilva / Wikipedia]
The Kuwaiti National Assembly [Xiquinhosilva / Wikipedia]

The Kuwait government has announced that it will not imprison or penalise over 24,000 illegal Indian workers if they report to the Interior Ministry for deportation or transfer of job visas, The Hindu reported.

“We are lenient towards Indian workers but have asked them to strictly follow the rules and regulations. The Immigration Department is ready to help them in the deportation process,” Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafie, who heads the department, told the Indian press. He also added that this will be done in accordance with Kuwait’s “good and strong ties with India”.

Marafie reiterated that he understands that there are many reasons for foreign citizens overstaying their visas. In most cases, workers leave their sponsors and work for other companies, which means they would have to start the visa application again. There are also cases where the sponsor is abroad and when visas expire there is no one to help the workers get their travel documents legalised.

There are also cases of workers who are subject to abuse by their sponsors and are forced to flee.

No date was given for when the amnesty would come to an end.

According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, there are 800,000 Indians residing in Kuwait, with at least 24,000 of them not having the correct official documents to stay in the country legally. A similar move has been undertaken by Qatar, in which the government gave workers who were residing illegally a three month amnesty to leave the country with no further action held against them.

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