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Corona … and visa trading!

Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the manifestation of a serious phenomenon, drawing attention to the threat of visa trading on the country’s public security and its infrastructural services. It sparks a series of questions concerning this phenomenon which the successive governments handled with levity and lackluster attitude instead of dealing with it head-on and with utmost seriousness.

The danger of visa trading is basically not a new or ambiguous trend. Everyone is aware that a particular district is completely filled with workers who are victims of this phenomenon. The issue has been ignored for various reasons that are already known without any cause to repeat it in an article that is permitted to be just about 400 words.

As fair umpires, we should first accept that these workers were cheated by time and wicked bureaucratic quagmire. The workers being attacked and described in the worst possible manner are human beings from poor countries who were searching for greener pasture to ensure a better future for themselves and their families, which was their motive behind coming to the country. They paid a certain sum of money in form of royalty to the greedy sponsors. The government agencies slacked in playing the expected roles of real monitoring, instead of monitoring documents and correctness of dates. They did not mandate themselves to verify the jobs, methodology and competency of the workers to handle the jobs. This led to emergence of fraudulent representatives (mandoubs) who know the corridors of the ministries, because they know very well the right officials to approach for signatures and stamps on those they will later describe as marginal workers!

The solution is very simple. The first step is to cancel the sponsorship system, then any employer who have secured allocation of required workers should be given terms to be announced on official websites with input of certain symbols linking transaction of the request between government agencies and the establishments. The worker will arrive in the country based on the terms without any sponsorship, so the attachment will be working contract for a particular period and the issue ends there.

The contract will specify the type of job, accommodation, who will be responsible for the accommodation and all other clauses that protect rights of everybody. The worker will thereby be connected to a tripartite contract (state, employer and employee). At the end of his service and after collection of his entitlements, he will face the airport bidding him farewell, as he came with dignity and departed with dignity.

Everybody who looks into the issue of visa trading should understand that the workers are here to work rather than for migration or settlement, so there is a big difference between this and that objective. Kuwait always welcomes honorable guests who will contribute to its development in line with principles that do not violate rights. We should also open new job intents that fit into the new era, which is very important. It should match requirements of the real labor market, while improving and activating maximum benefit from the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training. The usefulness cannot materialize without sending letters of appreciation to its senior officials and recognition to others who are working to grow the authority, according to the basic need for which it was established. The prevailing situation no longer accepts flattery as the public interest matters the most.

There is a very important issue that should not be ignored, which is the participation of expatriates in visa trading. It is known that the foremost trader is the expatriate representative who convinces Kuwaiti sponsor to bring those poor victims. This sponsor also has a share in the money paid to the sponsor by the worker. According to the information gathered, some representatives even operate visa trading indirectly and some workers are aware of all this, so they search for corrupt representatives to facilitate their coming to Kuwait.

Any worker who is involved in this is acting on ignorance under the belief that sacrificing for the future is a worthy idea. The problem is that they do not find the right person to advise them and clarify to them that they are a party to breaching the residency act. Unfortunately, the general situation supports it and many of them feel they are doing the right thing!

Naturally, I love those who strive to improve themselves and increase their material worth in pursuit for a better living standard. It is a human need and a legitimate aspiration. The only point of disagreement is the violation of law and flouting of the rules and regulations in which the parties of this calculation are deeply involved. These parties are –

• Worker who is ignorant of the law

• Fraudulent representative (mandoub)

• Greedy sponsor

It is significant to note the humanitarian aspect of this class in order to avoid creating new enemies for ourselves in this society.

Another issue is for us to focus on recruiting competent hands who can improve the industrial wheel of the country to the level of self-sufficiency.

The aforementioned does not indicate that there are no honorable ones who abide by the constitution and rule of law. They constitute the highest category and deserve commendation in the society without disagreement. They include doctors, engineers, teachers, holders of higher degrees, artisans, and others who provide laudable services. There are equally many Kuwaiti sponsors who handle things professionally, and are committed to and credible with the workers registered under them. They are also the highest segment of sponsors. However, my focus here is on the bad examples, because the only conspicuous thing is “the dust on top of the snow-white”.

Twitter – @alzmi1969

“A great city is where science, freedom, brotherhood and loyalty prevail”

– Michael Naima

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