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No country refuses to receive citizens from Kuwait: Foreign Minister

Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah

KUWAIT: There is no country that refuse to receive their citizens from the State of Kuwait who were in violation of residency law, the Arab Gulf country’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday. “No country refused to receive its citizens, all countries are committed to providing care for their nationals,” Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah told an online news conference. Kuwait had in March urged all expatriates who were in violation of the residency law to come forward to register their personal information at specific centers, during the month of April, to be repatriated to their countries. The Ministry of Interior said those expatriates would be kept in special housing units with daily meals, and would be sent back to their countries without paying for tickets.

“All countries acknowledged the arrangements by the State of Kuwait,” said Sheikh Ahmad. Those countries, he added, asked for time to prepare themselves to receive their citizens.He also noted that countries like India, Bangladesh, Egypt and Sri Lanka were in complete lockdown, hence more time was needed for the repatriation of their citizens. Sheikh Ahmad said His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah contacted the leaders of those countries, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah also spoke with his counterparts with the objective of repatriation of their citizens.

Thousands of expatriates became stuck for weeks at shelters prepared to house visa violators due to complications in securing flights to transfer them back home amidst the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Kuwait had announced an amnesty in April for foreigners living illegally in Kuwait, by which they could apply to leave without paying any fines or airfare, with a chance to return to Kuwait in the future. Over 20,000 people have reportedly availed the amnesty, of whom many have already been repatriated, but many others remain in shelters waiting for their chance to fly back home.

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