India raises concerns over expats in Kuwait

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(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

(AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait has sought a six-month grace period for residency violators and urged authorities to stop “harassing and arresting” Indians with valid documents, the Kuwait Times has reported.

Embassy officials on Monday discussed concerns with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over what it claims is continuous harassment of Indian expats working in the Gulf state and the unwarranted arrest of some.

India claims some of its citizens in Kuwait are missing after being arrested, with authorities either failing or refusing to provide details of their whereabouts.

It also has complained they are being unfairly pulled over while driving to check the status of their driver’s licences and residency. 

Kuwait is cracking down on illegal workers in the country as part of its plan to cut expat numbers by 100,000 each of the next 10 years.

Expats, especially low paid workers from southern Asia, are heavily relied on to fill the workforce and make up two-thirds of the population. But some nationals complain that the government wastes billions of dollars each year subsidising essential services for them.

Lawmakers already have implemented segregation of health services for nationals and foreigners and last month deported about 1300 expats for traffic violations, according to the Traffic Department.

Acting Indian Ambassador Vidhu Nair said Indians in Kuwait were becoming increasing concerned that the measures was aimed at them, Kuwait Times said.

During the high level meeting on Monday he called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to suspend the raids and give foreign residents six months to either legalise their status or return home.

He claimed most of those who had been arrested had only violated their residency visas because they had changed roles.

Nair said authorities had failed to inform the embassy about many Indian citizens who had been arrested or deported.

It has been reported that more than 500 Indians were taken into custody following a recent raid in Bneid Al-Gar, while Indian media this week reported that a group of men had been deported from Kuwait and flown to the Indian capital without any money and without informing their home country.

Nair also requested to be allowed to meet the detained Indians to provide any humanitarian assistance needed.

The foreign ministry had agreed to consider the embassy’s requests, he said.

“The talks have been quite positive and we hope that a solution can be found soon,” Nair told Kuwait Times.

The meeting came after hundreds of Indian workers stormed the embassy on Sunday demanding that it negotiate either the release of those arrested or at least information on their whereabouts.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: ASJ

This is just playing to the galleries. They are trying to divert attention from domestic issues - Shia Sunni, Bidoons, elections.......
When in doubt, blame the immigrants.

Posted by: Saqr

The huge influx of Asian foreigners in the Gulf needs to be addressed urgently, the Arabian Gulf looks all the more like Mumbai and Karachi and this Asian Tsunami is exasperating the imbalance in the demographic structure and has had a major impact on our cultural identity, values, customs, traditions, language and national identity. It is high time the Arabian Gulf takes earnest steps in safeguarding its national and cultural identity by restricting the liberal open door policy towards Asians.

Posted by: sam

what do you mean "Asians"??? last time i checked kuwait belonged to Asia

Posted by: Mohammad

I do agree with you Saqr, the inlux should be stopped, all asians should be sent home or atleast half of what are here and they should be replaced by...... whom do you propose.
Commenting on something is the easiest task in the world and finding solution is just the opposite. instead of complaining give suggestions.

Posted by: syed

Saqr- have you just woke up?. Expats from the Asian subcontinent have been in the MENA region since the 50's and their numbers peaked in the 80's. Its net neutral at this point.

You may not like them, but they are your largest trading partners, private sector employers, and in Dubai at least- the single largest purchasers of freehold property.

Just remember- without them doing the heavy lifting, none of the GCC countries would be where they are now. It can't be a case of selectivism where you just keep the blue collar and labour class, mooch of them and use them when you feel like.

Posted by: Ahmed

It doesn't matter what country you are speaking about in the world, illegal residency is against the law, however, Kuwait again puts the cart before the horse. They should have had a civil plan orchestrated before they started this campaign. Because they don't have a deportation centre, their only choice is to utilize a military base to house the illegal residents and these residents should be treated in a civil manner - their Embassies should be involved. If I over extend my visa in Thailand, I go to Thai prison, the same in Kuwait, but Kuwait again does not have enough jail space. When you have large amounts of illegal residents, the crime rate increases and Kuwait has the highest crime rate in the GCC. In Kuwait the amount of illegal residents is staggering.

Posted by: Sunil

Indian Govt should stop its citizens to sent to Kuwait on domestic visas (No. 20) in future as well as should call back all its citizens working in Kuwait on domestic visas to avoid such unfair deportation of its citizens. Indian Embassy should approve / authorise only work permit visas (No. 18) with a minimum salary on each categories and guarantee from the Minitstry of labour and ministry of interior of fair dealing with its citizens.
Those are woking in Kuwait without valid residency permits should be asked by the Embassy to go out from Kuwait within a time frame, which may be allowed by the Kuwaiti authorities. Sending residency violators like criminals are unfair. Let the Govt provide 3-6 months time frame to exit the country.

Posted by: Anon

Indeed and their GCC brothers are next!

Posted by: Ponzo

Their GCC brothers are NOT behaving like spoiled brats. They will be just fine! Let's not generalize the region.

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