Kuwait deports 1,258 expats in a month

Senior gov't official says deportations carried out amid crackdown on traffic offences

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Kuwait has deported 1,258 expats for traffic violations in the past month, a senior government official has told local Arabic media.

The Gulf country launched a crackdown on repeat or serious traffic offenders four weeks ago, including returning more than 200 people home within the first few days.

Thousands of vehicles also have been seized, while 1005 have been taken to a scrapheap to be destroyed, Interior Ministry undersecretary assistant for traffic affairs Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali told Al-Anba newspaper.

The deportations have been criticised by the Kuwait Labour Union and former MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji, who claim they are a violation of human rights and are illegal.

However, Al-Ali has defended the program by comparing running a red light to premeditated or attempted murder and claiming that using a private vehicle as a taxi violated labour and residency laws, while driving without a license was equal to working without a permit.

The offences targeted by the traffic department include driving without a license, running a red light, illegally carrying passengers and exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h.

Al-Ali said the vehicles to be destroyed were a 1985 model or earlier and failed to meet safety standards.

He said numerous fake driver’s licences also had been discovered and legal action would be taken against those who had them or had issued them.

Fake licences are relatively common in Kuwait, where foreigners must meet strict conditions to obtain a valid driver’s license, including having a university degree, a minimum monthly salary of KD400.

The oil-rich country has been accused of targeting expats in recent times as it seeks to rebalance the population of 3.8m, of which about two-thirds are foreigners.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Social Affairs has announced it plans to cut expat numbers by 100,000 each of the next 10 years.

It also confirmed on Saturday it would begin its segregation of expats and nationals at public medical clinics and hospitals on June 1.

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Posted by: Baiju Jaffar

Well, it is their country, their rules..but i was thinking about the situation of firms who are forced to loose the staff, as I understand the firms got no decisive power regarding the staff who offend traffic rules, it is the Interior Ministry's decision to deport those staff, so firms will all of a sudden loose a skilled worker or an experienced admin level employee...and that is really ridiculous...!!!!

Posted by: exodus

need, want, all semantics.

locals need to push needy unneeded expats who are unwanted.

Posted by: SAM

There are easier ways to reduce the number of expats in a country, such as not renewing a visa. In some countries, one gets a jail sentence if one habitually ignores stop signs and street lights, so kicking out such offenders is not a harsh punishment. Carrying a fake drivers licence is a serious crime and so is posing as a legitimate taxi cab. Does Kuwait really need these people? Are these types the ones positively contributing to Kuwaits well being and prosperity? I do not usually agree with what I hear coming from the government of Kuwait recently, but this is one policy that I like.

Posted by: Monkey Tennis

Come on AB admit it - Hisham (and Qatari) are alts of your own writers used to ensure the race tension this site seems to love stirring up continues to simmer.

Posted by: Haytham

I agree with Hisham, be it France where Arab youth are arrested for no reason or the US which jails Arabs in Guantanamo, the West has no right to complain. I have drive in many country and expats in Kuwait drive very badly, much worse than the Kuwaitis, such strict rule is needed to make them fear the law.

Posted by: john

@haytham, Kuwaiti drivers are insane on the roads. If you deny this you are being very biased.

I hope Kuwaities are ready to start working for a living because they will need to be if they carry on pushing expats away. This serves as a lesson to other GCC nations - keep watching what happens. Simply being wealthy isnt enough, you need blue and white collar workers and your locals aren't ready to take up that challenge!

Posted by: Hisham

@Billy I have no way of knowing where you are from, but in most Western nations the law is segregated as well. The only difference is that everyone puts on a show and acts like it's not. In all Western countries minority groups are more likely to receive higher punishment for the same offense. This is even increasing due to Islamofobia and declining acceptance of minority groups. In this region, the people who belong in these countries are the minority group. This concept in itself would not be accepted anywhere else. At least Kuwait is not putting up a show. The most important thing for them their government do is protect minority Kuwaiti's from majority non-Kuwaiti's. This is actually a great way of decreasing expat numbers (and, as this week's labourer strike in Dubai proves, decrease threat levels as well) and of sending out a message...

Posted by: Maha

@ Hisham - I grew up in the UAE and it is as close to my heart as my own nation is. Your comments in this site really fuels racism and hatred towards other non GCC nationalities . Please learn to comment in a refined and non-obnoxious way. Thank you.

Posted by: Vincent

Mr Hisham, I'm just wondering when are you going to speak with moderation and use appropriate words as well as stopping peremptory and false assertions about countries you know most probably through media or vacations!!!
Please mutiplicate your sources of information to go beyond easy monolithic stereotypes.
By propagate these false assertions you support ignorance and ignorance lead to fears of racism and wrong behavior.
Stop to assert that minority wrong behavior or way of thinking make a majority, it's enough and not the first time.
I do accept anybody to question any political, juridical or societal system as a fundamental right of freedom of expression but this freedom ends when the freedom of others begins so assert there is segregationist laws in western countries, except the freedom-destroying "patriot act", is just lie hopefully by ignorance and not just an attempt of manipulation of public opinion. Question the right to go on strike for a decent life No comment . . .

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