Foreign workers make up 3.3 million of Kuwait’s 4.6 million population. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: In a long-awaited step, Kuwait will scrap the sponsorship "soon", according to a Kuwaiti government official.

"Work for revoking the sponsorship system has been finalised,"advisor to the minister of social affairs Daham Al Shamiri told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas. "The cancellation decision will see the light of the day soon," he added without details.

Foreign workers make up 3.3 million of Kuwait’s 4.6 million population. Kuwait has recently been rocked by alleged scams of bringing illegal expatriates into the country. Unlawful traders in iqamats (permits) are blamed for flooding the country with semi-skilled expatriates.

Al Shamiri said that the Ministry of Social Insurance has stepped efforts to expose fake recruitment firms and bring them to justice.

"Dozens of rulings have been issued against owners of these companies over the past two years," he said.

But the official noted that the job is not easy. "There are tens of thousands of such businesses in return for about 400 inspectors, which makes it difficult for inspecting all this large number," he said.

In addition, according to a law on small-scale enterprises, the manpower authorities are obliged to issue at least 10 work permits for each owner of such an enterprise once he/she obtains a licence, the official remarked.

Illegal iqamat trade in Kuwait is an offence punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 dinars.