Cairo: The expiry of a contract between the Kuwaiti government and a company tasked with booking deportation tickets for arrested illegals has stranded around 3,500 expatriates now in detention facilities, a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported.
The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry is facing a big challenge as the number of arrested illegal expatriates is on the rise while the contract of the ticketing firm with the ministry has expired, Al Rai added.
The contract expired in mid-August and its renewal has not been approved yet, the paper quoted close security sources as saying.
“The deportation department has stopped receiving any would-be deportee unless he/she has a travel ticket,” the sources said, adding that an ongoing security crackdown has swelled the numbers of illegals in custody.
The sources put the number of illegals being kept in custody in different security facilities at around 3,500 including 1,300 in the deportation prison.
“Deportation decisions have been issued for all of them, but their departure has faltered because the company is the one responsible for booking tickets for them and collecting the money from their sponsors,” the sources said.
“But in absence of the [new] contract, no travel tickets for them are available, except those illegals who can pay for their travel,” the sources added.
“The presence of these numbers inside the detention centres requires an extra budget to cover their accommodation, medical care, etc.”
There was no immediate comment from authorities on the report.
Kuwaiti security authorities have recently stepped up a clampdown on expatriate violators of the country’s labour and residency laws.
Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s overall population of 4.6 million.
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 COVID-19.