Stock Kuwait skyline city
Kuwait city skyline. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Kuwait has extended until June 30 a deadline unveiled in March allowing illegal expatriates to readjust their residency status or leave willingly.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said the extension comes upon directives from First Deputy Prime Minister and Defence and Interior Minister Fahad Al Yousef. “This comes timed with the official holiday of Eid Al Adha and due to the high turnout among the expatriate violators of the residency law who wish to leave the country or readjust their status,” the ministry said in a statement.

The three-month deadline was originally set to end on June 17.

There are no official figures available on how many such expats have made use of the grace period so far.

The amnesty, which took effect on March 17, allows the illegal expatriate who has a passport to leave Kuwait without having to pay a fine with the possibility of re-entry.

The unlawful resident who has no travel document can get a new one issued and use it for departure. Illegals, who fail to readjust their status during the grace period, will face arrest, deportation from Kuwait and a ban on re-entry.

Kuwait has an overall population of 4.8 million people including around 3.3 million foreigners.

The country is endeavouring to redress its population imbalance and replace foreign workers with its citizens as part of an employment policy dubbed “Kuwaitisation”.

Kuwaiti individuals or companies employing illegal expats face charges of unlawfully sheltering and covering up illegals.

Last year, Kuwait deported record 42,000 expatriates for violating its residency and labour laws as well as for involvement in crimes.