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DESPITE being well aware of the fact that His Highness the Prime Minister’s window is rolled up (which means he doesn’t want to be bothered), here we are, turning to him with our issues, and his usual response is, “We will see”, or “We will refer the matter to experts and see what the law says”, or “let us see if the parliament agrees”. All these responses indicate his desire to not take responsibility.
If the government is willing to get rid of the problem related to phenomenon of “loose manpower in violation of the residency law”, which is a problem that troubles the majority of people and has become chronic because no one has taken the initiative to find a radical solution to it, here we are, addressing His Excellency the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, in whose hand is undoubtedly the solution.
In reality, these manpower are not loose. The use of the term “loose” is merely an insult to the state in the sense that it insinuates that it neither has borders nor authorities, i.e. a common land where anyone can enter anytime they want.
Frankly speaking, 150,000 and more of those who are referred by that term had entered the country with visas issued by the concerned authorities. Their sponsors abandoned them after their arrival to Kuwait, and every time they want to renew their residency, their sponsors charge them.
This category of manpower works in vital sectors, such as construction where wages have increased after many of them exited the country. For example, the daily wage of a construction worker has now become KD 10 or KD 12 from the previous wage of KD 4 or KD 5.
Also, many working in the domestic labor sector suffer greatly from their sponsors, as some of whom may not pay them salaries. A good example is the scandal that was raised by one of the embassies in the country a few years ago concerning a sponsor who used to give his domestic worker invoices of the electricity bills as receipts of the transfer of her salaries to her country for a period of three years. She realized the scam only when she decided to leave the country.
From time to time, the Ministry of Interior organizes campaigns to deport residency violators. It throws them into overcrowded deportation centers where they wait for their sponsors to provide a ticket, in accordance with the law, but in the process, they incur the state twice the price of that ticket.
These human traffickers must be tracked down because they are a disgrace to Kuwait. They keep tarnishing the image of Kuwait in international forums, the reports of which do not fail to make mentions of this dirty trade, which is in violation of all contracts and laws, every time.
His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and His Excellency the First Deputy Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed Al-Nawaf, there are many realistic solutions that do not require much effort. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have worked with them.
These solutions are adopted from the laws of the United States of America, Britain, Brazil and most Western countries. The state imposes a certain fee on these “loose” manpower and renews their residency for them on its sponsorship which should be half of what the greedy sponsor receives.
Once that is done, those who find work and abide by the laws are welcome. Whoever violates the laws are expelled immediately. This solution has been proven to reduce the crime rates and increase work stability in those countries.
In the Emirates for example, there is no talk about reforming the demographics. While the number of Emiratis is about three million, the number of expatriates of 200 different nationalities has reached about seven million. These people contribute to the process of building the state, and perform their work with ease, as is the case in Saudi Arabia with a population of about 13 million expatriates.
In these countries, the nationals work in jobs, utilities, and trade, as is the case in Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, while foreigners work in jobs in which the nationals have no desire to work.
Your Highness the Prime Minister, and His Excellency the First Deputy Minister of Interior, it is shameful that Kuwait remains at the mercy of human traffickers and some racist souls.
The traffickers are concerned more with profit, even if it is at the expense of the homeland, its security and stability. As for the racists, they are detached from reality. Both of them represent the cause of all these problems.
Nonetheless, if there is a desire to find a solution for the revival of the country, these proposals would have been under immediate implementation, However, if the window remains rolled up, no cure will be of use, and every hope will bring more disappointments.
“Peace, mercy and blessing be upon you!”
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times