Amnesty…is it enough?

Badrya Darwish

It was a great decision by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah to grant an amnesty to all illegal residents in Kuwait. The best part in his decision is that they can leave immediately, without any penalties or fees, through any border (airport or land borders) without referring to any authority like the police station, immigration offices, etc. Also, the second decision by the minister was great. He made it possible for those who want to stay to legalize their status, pay the fines and obtain a valid visa.

This serves both Kuwait and the illegals. Firstly, because many of them are living in dire frustration – they cannot go left or right or center. They cannot go anywhere without being scared of being caught by the police. They cannot work legally. They cannot go to hospitals or clinics if they are sick. They cannot live decently. This also benefits Kuwait, because it reduces the number of illegal residents in the country and also helps reduce the burden on government services – be it social or security wise.

But this is not the end of a beautiful story in Kuwait – illegals are out, etc. I think the minister should consider how these illegals became illegals. What were the reasons? Let’s hit and find the source. Not all of them are runaway maids. Tens of thousands of them are ordinary employees or laborers who were brought here legally but without a job when they arrived. They paid recruiters to come here – both in their home country and in Kuwait, but found nothing when they arrived.

And I’m sure the minister is sophisticated enough to know how they came and who brought them. So the question is how to stop this from repeating itself? Because it can be repeated now, tomorrow and after tomorrow and on and on and we will be back to square one. This is human trafficking. People are filling their pockets from these poor souls and then dumping them on Kuwait’s streets. And this makes them a burden for Kuwait and its system and infrastructure.

I am sure Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah has enough power and determination to close this chapter once and for all. He can scrutinize the companies that are bringing in these large numbers of workers and benefitting from them, and throwing the responsibility at the end of the day on Kuwait and the Kuwaiti government. Now is the chance for the interior ministry to put in place a new system that is fair to both the worker and the company hiring him without wasta and without connections. No more human traffickers please.

By Badrya Darwish
badrya_d@kuwaittimes.net


This article was published on 24/01/2018