700 Kuwaiti firms charged with human trafficking

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About 700 companies in Kuwait have been charged with human trafficking offences over allegations they bribed potential expats with illegal work visas, according to a local Arabic daily.

Nearly 1,000 employers also have been blocked from issuing new visas after an investigation found workers officially on their books were illegally working elsewhere, an anonymous ministry source told Al-Qabas newspaper.

According to local media, visa trafficking is rife in Kuwait. Traffickers exploit loopholes in the labour sponsorship system by creating work permits for fake companies or nonexistent jobs, which are sold to unskilled workers in labour exporting countries such as India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

When workers arrive in Kuwait often they discover they do not have a job and resort to hard labour, working without a valid visa.

The Kuwaiti government estimates there are nearly 90,000 people living illegally in the oil-rich Gulf state. About two-thirds of the 2.6m people are expats.

A crackdown on illegal workers this year has seen 25,000 people arrested, including 15,000 still in custody and 6000 who were deported.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al-Rashidi announced earlier this year Kuwait would reduce the number of expats by 100,000 each of the next 10 years.

The Al Qabas report is the first indicating the government is targeting traffickers rather than workers.

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Posted by: Melvin

No, the issue will go away Chris if the Kuwait government formulates a Government Manpower Company where expat workers are issued visas controlled by the government. What you sited is one of the problems, but these visa traders trafficked people to Kuwait under a false company and Kuwait has a high unemployment rate. This is why there are so many illegal workers squatting in Kuwait.

Posted by: jay

kuwait has a high unemployment rate!!!! no kuwaiti will ever become a household worker thats the problem those that are unemployed do not want to work
i am in business here i want more Kuwaiti workers but they dont want to work in the private intdustrie cause they are managed not like the government where they just come and go
unemployment is not the term it should be people who dont or choose not to work and its a low% at 4-5 % spain is 25% get real and put it in perspective
illegal workers are squatting here cause they cant afford to buy the ticket home give them an amnesty and a free flight and they would be gone tomorrow

Posted by: Chris

It is the illegal use of household visas which cause the problems in Kuwait. They are meant to be used for household staff but instead are used to bring people in without rights. Cut the visas to one per Kuwaiti for household staff and the issue will go away.....even with the size of some families!

Posted by: jay

ok so deport an expat for driving offences what penalty is the government going to put on the Kuwaiti sponsors a crime far worse than driving I bet it will be a small fine
come on Government let the sentace fit the crime Jail these people for these serious crime for a minimum of 10 years
and fine 5000 kd for every illegal visa

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