KUWAIT CITY, Feb 24: A total of 3,000 Nepali expatriates have applied for travel documents to leave Kuwait during the amnesty period declared by Ministry of Interior for those in violation of the country’s residency law. Source – Kathmandu Post Online. According to the Embassy of Nepal in Kuwait, these numbers include more than 1,700 women who did not have legal residence permits to work in the country.
These numbers are likely to increase, as there are about 4,500 Nepali expatriates who are in violation of the residency law. The embassy has been encouraging Nepali citizens in the country to take advantage of the amnesty to either rectify their residency status or return to Nepal, and helping them in this regard. Ministry of Interior had initially declared that the amnesty would be from Jan 29 to Feb 22; however, this period was later extended to April 22.
The embassy had issued 263 travel documents for Nepali expatriates on the first day of the amnesty, which was on January 29. “This is a great opportunity for Nepalis to return home or amend their legal status and continue working in Kuwait. We are thinking of holding talks with multi-stakeholders regarding best ways to utilize the opportunities. If the workers cannot return on their own, we will ask the concerned bodies including recruitment agencies to take this responsibility”, says the spokesperson of Nepal’s Ministry of Labor and Employment. In this regard, a report issued by the concerned Kuwaiti authorities revealed that the top five countries with citizens in violation of the residency law are India with over 32,000 violators, Egypt with 10,700 violators, the Philippines with 11,800 violators, Bangladesh with 25,000 violators, Syria with 6,900 violators.
Meanwhile, many Indian children cannot obtain passports to benefit from the amnesty granted to foreigners staying illegally in Kuwait to either legalize their status or return to their home countries.
A report published on economictimes. indiatimes.com revealed these children were born out of wedlock and they have no record of birth in hospitals. Hundreds of women are also in a difficult situation because they cannot return home by themselves and leave their babies behind.
Nangi Devender Reddy, convener at Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee-Gulf NRI cell disclosed, “We have come across many cases where children cannot even get passports to return to India. We have given a representation to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait to come to the aid of such children and provide an emergency passport.” Reddy and a team traveled to Kuwait recently to help stranded Telugus to return home.
Several housemaids from the two Telugu states are saddled with children and babies. “The children should not suffer. We have asked the External Affairs Ministry to ensure that no child born in Kuwait is left behind,” Devender Reddy said.
It has been reported that women employed as housemaids and men as drivers stay in the same house, so most of them develop illicit relationships. Usually, women are left behind to take care of the children while the men left the country.
The Kuwaiti government extended the amnesty, which was supposed to end on Feb 22, by another two months. Some Indian workers were reportedly denied exit from the immigration at the airport because they had pending mobile phone dues.
They have not paid installments for phones or cleared bills. Devender Reddy said workers need help in all these issues and they had taken it up with the embassy.