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IF the aim and target are not aligned, the shot will always be off the mark. This is the principle in force in Kuwait, as the Ministry of Interior does not stop announcing from time to time campaigns against violators of the residency law, the figures of which have never been below 150,000 at any stage, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the facilities granted to these people to leave the country.
In fact, during such campaigns, the Ministry of Interior gets shocked by the huge number of people who voluntarily surrender to leave, and is forced to shelter these people in camps that lack the least of humanitarian conditions.
The expatriate residency law has not changed since 1959. Any amendments to it were mere frills, starting with the imprisonment of the violator until his sponsor paid for his return ticket to his country, to the many prohibitions that are quickly aborted by the labor law in the private sector, and almost represents a door to corruption that seems to never close.
In the past three decades, this abnormal situation has led to the presence of a huge proportion of expatriates who were brought to the country with various temptations by exploiting their pursuit for stable work to secure their future. It prompted them to sell their source of livelihood in their countries in order to buy a visa from greedy traders who sought to earn money from these desperate people. As soon as they came to Kuwait, they found themselves on the street without work and shelter. They were also forced to annually pay an amount, which exceeds their ability to earn, for the renewal of their residency; otherwise they become violators and are pursued by the hands of the law.
Therefore, the campaigns against these violators are whitewashing the page of human traffickers. If 20,000 violators get expelled, we see within days the issuance of work visas for the same number. In short, those traffickers unintentionally make the Ministry of Interior work for them.
Every violating expatriate in the deportation center costs the state more than KD 30 daily, but the flight ticket does not exceed the cost of three days in the detention center. According to a simple calculation, the cost incurred by the public money for these people is much more than what the state can earn from their deportation.
In addition to that, the deportation center cannot accommodate such a huge number of violators. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when some official institutions announced that an area such as Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh shelters about 30,000 violators.
What does that mean?
It means that all the previous campaigns did not work on dealing with this file. If our “wise” government had followed the path taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Britain, the United States of America, Germany, and other countries, it would have saved itself a lot, and benefited from these workforce.
What prevents the direct granting of visas and residencies by the state, for which these violators can pay fees, as is the case in the countries aforementioned, and to be granted residency in the light of that?
Given that the law for Arabs is to dance at night to the tunes of the instrument named after itself and to rule by day, the demographic structure has been lost between the campaigns of the Ministry of Interior and its law, and the Public Authority for Manpower dancing according to its law as well, while the government looks like a deaf person at a wedding.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times