‘Legal’ health papers to illegal expats fans trafficking in visas – Eradicate smuggling of drugs: minister

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KUWAIT CITY, June 30: A new portal has been opened for visa traders to flood the local labor market with manpower illegally as the Kuwait Municipality noticed the issuance of thousands of health certificates to domestic workers, some of whom are absconders, criminals and Residency Law violators but the Municipality cannot do anything about the issue, reports Al-Rai daily.

A reliable source from the Municipality revealed that from the ‘labor’ portal which tightened its grip on visa traders, up to the ‘health’ portal wherein irregularities and visa trading continue; “there is suspicion of forgery, fraud and manipulation of health certificates issued by the Ministry of Health to laborers considering 90 percent of them are on domestic worker visa. They got the certificates officially as the documents were authenticated by the Health Ministry, but the whole process is against the law. The visa traders have exhausted the labor market despite various steps being taken by the government to stop them. The fact that the ministry is issuing health certificates to these workers is considered a new portal for the visa traders, especially since most of those given the certificates turned out to be absconders while some are wanted by law for involvement in different crimes.”

The source pointed out “it is not the mandate of the Municipality to arrest a domestic worker or issue citation as long as he holds a valid health certificate. The lists in the hands of some government institutions, including the Municipality, are loaded with files of domestic workers”.

The source wonders how such vital certificates are being issued without the presence of the sponsor (‘kafeel’) and his signature, and the reason behind the ministry’s issuance of certificates to domestic workers in a manner that corresponds with the latter’s needs.

The source affirmed this unveils the magnitude of visa trading in the local labor market, particularly since majority of occupations require health certificates; hence, the possibility of bribery and fraud in the entire process.

The source reaffirmed “the Municipality has no authority in the process of issuing health certificates as this is under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry. The issuance of health certificate to a domestic worker is prohibited, while the role of the Municipality is limited to checking the validity of these certificates and it has no authority to determine whether the holder of the certificate violated the Residency Law or not.”

The source added, “The Municipality is keen on coordinating with the ministries of Labor and Health to come up with a mechanism for the withdrawal of all certificates issued to those proven to have violated the residency and labor laws, as well as tighten regulations on the side of the Health Ministry in a manner that will end fraud and manipulation.”

Meanwhile, in another development, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah Tuesday, June 28 was present at the General Department for Drugs Control along with the Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior Lieutenant General Sulaiman Fahad Al-Fahad and other high-ranking officials of the ministry to observe the opening of recently-discovered packs containing drugs and intoxicants.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah expressed his appreciation for the sincere efforts exerted by the General Department for Drugs Control for the protection of the society from the dangers of illicit drugs as well as the advanced skills of the officers in discovering various ways by which people try to smuggle drugs into the country.

He insisted that the General Department for Drugs Control should not limit its efforts its efforts in discovering and destroying drugs but it must also cooperation with all state institutions and civil society institutions to eradicate this negative phenomenon.

According to a press release issued by Ministry of Interior, Acting Director General of General Department for Drugs Control Waleed Al-Duraie explained to the minister the details of the operations.

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