Kuwait moves to clear mounting problems with illegal workers

Cairo: Kuwait’s labour authorities are handling thousands of ‘absence’ complaints filed by employers against expat workers to help rectify their illegal stay status, a local newspaper said. These notices prevent workers involved from paying related fines and legalise their status in the country.

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The Kuwait Interior Ministry has given grace period until the end of December for such expatriates to readjust their status and comply with labour regulations. The State Public Authority of Manpower is seeking to protect rights of workers in the private sector as well as those of their employers, Al Rai quoted a source at the agency as saying.

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“Regarding the absenteeism cases, the worker has to apply for handling the complaint. Should conditions for looking into the complaint be met, it would be examined by the Labour Relations Directorate,” the source added.

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Procedures to follow

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In case, a final approval is obtained for work transfer, the absence notice against the worker is dropped.

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“But if this approval is not secured, the absence notice is not dropped unless the employer renounces the complaint,” the source explained. The complaint could, however, be dropped without the employer’s consent in certain cases.

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They include categories of the wife of a Kuwaiti or Gulf man; the husbands and children of Kuwaiti and Gulf women; Palestinian document holders; and a foreign female worker who has transferred residency to become a dependent provided she has a family living in Kuwait.

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Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s over 4.8 million population. There have been increasing calls in Kuwait for curbing foreigners’ employment to redress a demographic imbalance and amid accusations that migrants have strained infrastructure facilities.

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