Illegal workers detected in Kuwait will now be given the opportunity to legalise their status rather than be deported, a senior Interior Ministry official has told Kuwait Times.
The apparent move in favour of expats will be implemented in lieu of an amnesty, which would have allowed illegal – and legal – residents to leave the country without retribution.
An amnesty in Saudi Arabia last year led to more than 1 million of the kingdom’s then 9 million expats to leave.
In Kuwait, illegal residents who are caught are usually deported and banned from the country, without a means of appeal.
“Now the violator can pay the penalties and transfer his visa to remain in Kuwait,” Adel Al Hashash, head of public relations and moral guidance at the Interior Ministry, was quoted as saying.
“Also, the ministry has set a maximum limit for the penalty for one year at KD600 only instead of KD730 previously.”
Director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) Mohammed Al Hamidi said the amendment favoured expats.
It is in vast contrast to the policy of former minister of social affairs and labor Thekra Al Rasheedi, who last year announced a plan to cut the number of expats by 1 million.
The government also has frozen the issuance of new work visas until early next year, when a new Public Authority for Manpower is expected to be established.