Cairo: Kuwait’s top appeals court has confirmed a four-year-jail sentence earlier handed down to each of three citizens convicted of illegally trading in iqamas or residency permits for expatriates in the country. The rulings are now final.
One defendant is an employee at the government Public Authority of Manpower (PAM), according to media reports.
The trio were charged with forging documents to set up fake hotel firms. The case surfaced during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Kuwait recently toughened measures against illegal foreign residents and warned that any expatriate covering up an unlawful resident will be deported too.
In September, authorities banned changes to data included in work permits issued for expatriates related to the name, birth date and nationality.
PAM explained that if an employer wants to make such modifications, he/she has to apply for cancelling the would-be-recruited worker’s visa in two weeks’ time from the issuance date via the Sahel app for e-government services, and afterwards check with the Interior Ministry to amend the worker’s data base and apply to obtain a new work permit.
The new measures came upon joint coordination between PAM and the Interior Ministry.
The aim is to head off manipulations practiced in the past illegally to recruit labour holding nationalities for whom recruitment permits are on hold, PAM sources said.
Foreigners make up around 3.2 million of Kuwait’s overall population of 4.6 million, according to recent official figures.
Kuwait is seeking to redress its demographic imbalance and replace foreign workers with its citizens as part of an employment policy dubbed “Kuwaitisation”.
In recent months, there have been increasing calls in Kuwait for curbing foreigners’ employment along accusations that migrant workers have strained the country’s infrastructure facilities amid economic repercussions from the pandemic.