Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

6000 Expats Deported From Kuwait Via Kuwait Air?

. . . Only 5 deportees allowed per Kuwait Air flight, deportees only allowed on Kuwait Air, so it takes 1200 flights just to export the deportees they have already lined up crowding the jails? Or is this 6000 already deported?

Is it orderly? Do people know why they are being deported? Do they have time to make arrangements for family and/or pets? Is there an appeal process? Are the courts also clogged? Are only illegals being deported?

Has anyone seen a breakdown of deportees by nationality?

From the Kuwait Times

6,000 illegal residents deported in 6 months – Jails getting overcrowded

KUWAIT: Nearly 6,000 people were deported over the past six months of crackdowns on illegal residents in Kuwait, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting Interior Ministry statistics as of June 23. According to a source, who agreed to provide the statistics to Al-Qabas on the condition of not being named in the report, as many as 25,000 expatriates were arrested during security campaigns carried out since the beginning of the year across Kuwait.

The source said around 15,000 people were later released after their employers submitted documents to prove that the workers were living legally in Kuwait. In other cases, workers whose visas had recently expired were released after their employers gave assurances to renew their visas immediately.

The source also revealed that some employers were required to sign undertakings that they would not to allow their employees to work in other firms before the workers were officially released.

In addition to people with expired visas, the continuing crackdowns are targeting expatriate laborers reported missing by their employers, as well as people holding Article 20 visas (for domestic helpers) but working in private firms, for which visas are issued under Article 18 of the labor law. However, the source stated, such security campaigns could be put on hold until further notice, with jails getting “overcrowded with detainees.”

The source indicated that nearly a thousand employers were blacklisted for allowing domestic workers to work for others. Furthermore, he said cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs resulted in the blacklisting of nearly 500 companies found guilty of visa trafficking.

The source also indicated that Kuwait Airways is currently the only airline used to transport deportees. A maximum of five deportees per flight are allowed, he added, in order to avoid trouble inside the airplane.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al- Rashidi had announced in March the government’s intention to deport 100,000 foreigners this year, as part of a plan to reduce the expatriate population in Kuwait by one million within a decade.

The Interior Ministry never confirmed that the ongoing crackdowns on illegal residents were part of the deportation plan. In response to criticism from rights groups inside and outside Kuwait, Al-Rashidi later identified “marginal labor forces” as the target of the plan.

Kuwait is home to 2.6 million expatriates, who make up 68 percent of the country’s 3.8 million population.

Nearly 90,000 of them live illegally in the country, according to official numbers.


June 26, 2013 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Social Issues, Work Related Issues


  1. Things have been unsteady here lately. Apparently a couple of months ago a decision was made to try and get rid of 1 million expatriates. I think this is how they are starting though I can’t be sure. It seems like mainly the lower (labor) class are being targeted. I’ve heard some stories of people being taken away even though their papers were in order, but I don’t know how accurate these stories are. Needless to say, expats are worried, especially because there doesn’t seem to be any particular criteria behind who is being deported and for what reason.

    Comment by plumpetals | June 26, 2013 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Plumpetals.

    On one hand, I can imagine that having a lot of illegals is a huge drag on the economy, and probably does contribute to some of the crime, although I imagine not so much to aggressive violations of traffic laws, like running the red lights, weaving and speeding in traffic, racing on the desert highways . . . I can see deporting people without papers, even though many of them are stuck in Kuwait because of those who trade in visas, promised them visas and didn’t deliver, corrupt employers and corrupt officials. It’s too bad, but it’s the way it seems to be.

    I also saw this article in the Kuwait Times; it appears to me there is a large house-cleaning going on. I have to ask who these officials are – are these Kuwaitis who have held these jobs, or are these mid-level managers from other countries who have been serving in Kuwait for years? They are given less than one week’s warning that they will be forced to retire. There is no place in Kuwait for retired expats; it means that they, too, will have to get their affairs in order very quickly, try to sell appliances, furniture and cars in a market that will be saturated with people selling appliances, furniture and cars, and oh yes, the summer exodus, who will be there to buy?

    Senior officials in the public sector, including undersecretaries, directors, supervisors and heads of departments, have been served an ultimatum until June 30 to put in their request to seek retirement and benefits, amounting to financial privileges in the form of incentives to encourage officials who have served for over 30 years to retire. Beyond the specified date, officials would lose the opportunity to obtain the additional pension, but the cabinet did not stipulate immediate retirement after this month-end. . . . Meanwhile, sources within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor revealed that the ministry was struggling to fill nearly 80 senior posts after several directors, supervisors and heads of departments were referred for retirement. . . the sources who also preferred to remain unnamed indicated that minister Thekra Al-Rashidi could resort to recruit qualified people to replace those relieved from outside since a sufficient number of competent employees within the ministry were not available for promotion. —Al-Qabas

    But really, it doesn’t end there, either, there is, at the upper levels, Kuwaitization. Kuwaitization makes perfect sense; you educate your young to be able to take over responsible positions. Maybe that is what is happening, maybe responsible young Kuwaitis are waiting to take over all these soon-to-be-vacated positions. Maybe there will be chaos for a time while they figure out new and better ways to do things and then we will start to see improvements in infrastructure, highways, water, electricity, public transportation, maybe the co-ops will be upgraded, maybe even a postal service.

    Meanwhile, it looks to me like there is a large plan afoot, and we are seeing small pieces of it, but there appear to be a lot of pieces in play . . . Oh, for a little transparency!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 26, 2013 | Reply

  3. Kuwait decided last year to retire 800 senior police officials without putting a plan into place as to how to replace them. We have a lovely soaring crime rate and and an enormous knowledge void.

    I’ve wondered about the 5 deportees per plane. Unless, of course, they’re storing them in cargo. By the track record of human rights abuses, it might not surprise me all that much.

    Comment by Desert Girl | June 27, 2013 | Reply

  4. Here is an idea to get rid of illegal expats: Give illegal residents a way out of Kuwait and either a subsidized ticket or a free ticket home (or hey – make their SPONSORS pay!) and let them leave with dignity. There are numerous reports that the jails are overcrowded at the moment (very nice when it is 47 degrees outside). There aren’t enough seasoned prison guards to even handle them.

    Comment by Desert Girl | June 27, 2013 | Reply

  5. Hey, Desert Girl. I love your free ticket idea. Qatar did that, had an amnesty period, when people could come forward who wanted to go home, and it was very successful. You are right, since they are giving them the ticket anyway, why not do it with dignity?

    I like your idea, too, because I think what is happening is not unnatural, but is happening in a heavy-handed, ungracious – un-Kuwaiti way. I can only guess that many of the people being forcibly retired are expats from India, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, etc., people who have been in Kuwait a long long time, raised and educated their children in Kuwait, SERVED Kuwait faithfully – only to be turned out like they are expendable and disposable. It is hurtful, and many of them have nowhere to go.

    I am guessing this because I saw some of this happening – even among South Africans, Australians, Brits and Americans – people told to go abruptly. But by abruptly, I am talking about maybe 30 – 60 days to get their affairs in order.

    I am hoping that people who have served Kuwait faithfully will be treated, as you suggested, with the courtesy and dignity for which Kuwait was once famous.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 27, 2013 | Reply

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