This post was originally published on 12 December 2016.
In a rare gesture, the Kuwait government has stated 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, India Times has reported.
“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,” Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafie, who heads the department, told a group of Indian journalists, adding this was being done “in view of good and strong ties with India”.
Reasons for the overstays
Major General Marafie said there were multiple reasons for the overstays. 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 get their travel documents legalised. Some sponsors retain the passports of workers.
Government keen to help
Such workers leave their sponsors for monetary benefits and better jobs. He said the government was 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, Maj. Gen. Marafie made it clear that if any of the workers had indulged in malpractices, they would not be spared.
He said that 2,018 illegal Indian workers had already been helped to leave the country without any penalty.
On non-payment of dues Concerning the non-instalment of levy to the labourers, he said the administration appended incredible significance to this basic issue.
Senior Interior Ministry official Mohammed Ajami expressed that a huge number of such cases had been settled. The Ministry likewise offers lawful help to specialists to battle their cases in court.
The decision must be given inside one month’s opportunity so that the laborers don’t endure any deferral. The legislature has likewise shaped a council of legal counselors to help outside specialists in settling their levy.
Ajami He said the government has proposed certain changes in the labour laws under which workers will have the right to retain their passports and travel documents. Moreover, sponsors will be made responsible to pay dues within a one-month period or face legal action.
On the drop in oil revenue, Marafie said this has not impacted on recruitment. More than 50,000 Indians have been recruited this year, he noted.