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Kuwait offers grace period for illegal drivers, domestic helpers

Kuwait seeking solution to issue involving 110,000 foreigners

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait is granting expatriate drivers and domestic workers a grace period to regularise their situation and avoid legal issues and deportation.

Around 30,000 foreigners are expected to benefit from the decision taken by the general directorate for residency.

According to figures published in Kuwait, around 110,000 foreigners from various nationalities are living illegally in the northern Arabian Gulf country, home to 2.3 million non-Kuwaitis who make up two thirds of the total population.

The country’s six governorates have been informed about the grace period, Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas reported on Thursday.

Under the grace decision, drivers and domestic helpers staying illegally in the country submit an application to their residency affairs department. It is then referred to the general directorate of investigation and a valid residency permit is issued within 24 hours unless there is a security concern, the daily said, adding that the applicant must provide a valid passport.

The paper did not mention a deadline for the grace period.

Sources said the decision would address a legal loophole and find solutions for the illegal stay issue.

“In the past, violators were referred to the general directorate of investigation without the possibility of obtaining a residency permit,” sources told the daily. “Many violators simply did not take the step to regularise their status in a bid to avoid being referred to the investigation teams.”

According to migration reports, 90 per cent of all Kuwaiti households employ a foreign domestic helper and domestic work accounts for 21.9 per cent of the total employment in the country

A campaign is expected to be launched following the Eid holidays to chase violators and deport them.

Eid, the feast that follows Ramadan, the month of fasting, is expected to start on Friday or on Saturday next week, depending on the lunar calendar.

The feast in Kuwait will last four days.

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