Cairo: Kuwaiti authorities have ruled out granting a new grace period for thousands of illegal expatriates amid a large-scale crackdown across the country to deport them.
Kuwait has repeatedly extended the grace period for illegal foreign residents in the past months to allow time for them to legalise their status.
“No new grace will be granted to violators, especially given that the Interior Ministry has heeded the humanitarian side during the coronavirus crisis by granting them four successive graces to modify their status and pay the related fines,” Al Rai newspaper quoted a security source as saying.
The numbers of illegal expatriates in Kuwait are estimated at around 160,000, the paper reported.
“Their large numbers are basically due to the fact that many of foreign residents got visit visas for members of their families who have not complied with the visa duration and have overstayed in the country for several years,” the source added.
“Those illegals did not make use of the previous grace periods and consequently have to leave the country. They still have the chance to take the initiative of paying the related fines as soon as possible and leave the country willingly and come back on a new visa,” the source said.
But if the illegal expatriates are arrested in the current security campaign, they will be deported, banned from re-entering Kuwait for life and from other Arab Gulf countries for five years, the source warned.
Kuwait disclosed this week that it had deported 426 expatriates — 287 men and 139 men — over the period of November 3-9 for having violated the country’s residency law.
Last month, a total of 2,190 illegal expatriates were also deported from Kuwait.
The country of around 4.6 million people mostly migrant workers has in recent months sought to redress its demographic imbalance amid fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.