76,000 foreigners to face daunting future as amnesty nears end

June 20, 2011

Around 76,000 foreigners staying illegally in Kuwait will face a daunting future at the end of a four-month amnesty on June 30, security sources have said.

Around 120,000 foreigners, mainly Asian labourers, have overstayed their residency permits and faced legal difficulties, the sources told Al Qabas daily.

However, a grace period granted on March 1 to allow those who were staying illegally in the country to regularize their situation was taken up by around 45,000 people.

“Around 29,000, including 800 domestic helpers, left the country between March 1 and June 19, while around 15,000 paid fines and transferred to new sponsors,” the source said.

The authorities have repeatedly said that they would not extend the grace period and that there would be a zero-tolerance policy towards those caught flouting the law.

According to the sources, visa traffickers were the biggest losers during the amnesty.

Foreigners need sponsors to enter Kuwait and the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The highly controversial system has resulted in the emergence of a class of traffickers in visas who either took advantage of loopholes in the legislation or resorted to malicious ways to sell them to foreigners keen on lucrative opportunities in the Gulf countries.

Kuwait is home to around 2.2 million foreigners, out of a 3.3 million total population.

Fresh plans by the government aim to reduce the number of expatriates to 45 per cent of the total population.




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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