Sigh of relief for over 24,000 illegal Indian workers in Kuwait

There are about 1 million Indian workers in Kuwait. Photo courtesy: Madhyama

There is a sigh of relief for many Indian workers living in Kuwait as the government has announced that it would not imprison or penalise over 24,000 illegal Indian workers if they report to the Interior Ministry for deportation or transfer of job visas.

While talking to media, Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafie, Head of the Immigration Department in Kuwait, said, “We are lenient towards Indian workers but have asked them to strictly follow the rules and regulations. The Immigration Department is ready to help them in the deportation process.”

He added, “This is being done in view of good and strong ties with India.”

One million Indian workers in Kuwait

There are around one million Indian workers in Kuwait. There are multiple reasons for the overstays of the workers. In most cases, workers leave their sponsors and work for other companies for financial benefits. There are also cases where the sponsor is abroad and when visas expire there is no one to help the workers to get their travel documents legalised. Some sponsors retain the passports of their employees. Such workers leave their sponsors for monetary benefits and better jobs.

Marafie further informed, “The government is keen to help illegal workers if they report to us. The Immigration Department will make necessary arrangements for their deportation. The workers have to pay a small amount as a penalty, but in most cases, this has been waived.

However, Marafie made it clear that if any of the workers indulge in malpractices, they would not be spared.

He also said that 2,018 illegal Indian workers had already been helped to leave the country without any penalty.

Non-payment of dues

As for the non-payment of dues to the workers, he said the government is giving great importance to this critical issue. Senior Interior Ministry official Mohammed Ajami stated that thousands of such cases had been resolved. The ministry also offers legal assistance to workers to fight their cases in court. Fast track courts deliver verdicts within one month’s time so that the victims don’t suffer any delay. The government has also formed a committee of lawyers to help foreign workers in settling their dues.