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Respite for 24,000 illegal Indian expats

KUWAIT: According to Indian media reports, Kuwait will not imprison or penalize over 24,000 illegal Indian workers if they report to the interior ministry for deportation or transfer of job visas. “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,” Maj Gen Talal Maarafi, who heads the department, told a group of Indian journalists, adding this was being done “in view of good and strong ties with India”. There are around one million Indian workers in Kuwait.

Maarafi said 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, Maarafi 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. As for the non-payment of dues to the workers, he said the government attached great importance to this critical issue.
Senior Interior Ministry official Mohammed Ajmi stated that thousands of such cases had been resolved. The ministry also offers legal assistance to workers to fight their cases in court. The verdict has to be given within one month’s time so that the workers don’t suffer any delay. The government has also formed a committee of lawyers to help foreign workers in settling their dues. On the drop in oil revenue, Maarafi said this has not impacted recruitment. More than 50,000 Indians have been recruited this year, he noted.

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