Kuwait’s absconding foreigners risk losing residence permits

March 22, 2011

Absconding Kuwait-based foreigners will lose their residence permits immediately if a plan proposed by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to reduce the high number of illegal residents in the country is implemented.

Kuwaiti media quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying that the legal protection for those charged with absconding by their sponsors would automatically be suspended in compliance with Article 25 of the legislation on expatriate workers.

The clause suspension would turn expatriates facing absconding charges into illegal immigrants and subject to the relevant penalties, the official said, Kuwait Times reported yesterday.

Under the proposed procedures, sponsors can report their absconding employees to the Social Affairs and Labour Ministry and proceed to file charges against them at any police station.

Penalties applicable

If found guilty, the absconding employee could be sentenced to one month in prison or a fine of up to 600 Kuwaiti dinars (Dh7,935).

Cases of absconding foreign workers has been on the rise in Kuwait even though officials have been pushing for an end to the controversial sponsorship system, a move that is being strongly resisted by the powerful business community.

The current system is widely believed to hand employers a clear advantage when dealing with expatriate workers who must enjoy their sponsors’ goodwill.

Foreigners, mainly domestic helpers and labourers, have little protection against employers withholding salaries or forcing them to work long hours with no days off. There have been cases of employees being deprived of adequate food or being subjected to physical abuse.

Kuwait has given foreigners staying illegally in the country time until June 30 to regularise their status or leave without facing legal action. According to several Asian embassies, a large number of their nationals have benefited from the amnesty launched on March 1.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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