Embassies get ready to help amnesty applicants, need more details
Kuwait: Officials from the embassies of different countries have expressed gratitude for the upcoming amnesty period. But they have expressed concern over the dearth in information on the nature of the amnesty involved, especially if absconding cases are included.
According to embassy officials, there are two ways to interpret the amnesty program this year – it being partial or complete.
The ministry should clarify the amnesty because we are afraid that people with absconding cases will not be able to avail of the amnesty period,” said an embassy official. He spoke with this reporter on condition of anonymity, “That is very unfortunate if it happens because many of our compatriots in the country have pending cases in police stations… most of these are absconding cases. Based on our interpretation, this year’s amnesty is quite different. Cases of absconding expats will not be considered
for amnesty,” an official from one Asian embassy said.
The Kuwait Times made a series of attempts to contact a ministry official to elicit the details about the recently announced amnesty. However, no response was received by the production deadline of the newspaper.
Embassies are gearing up for the amnesty program announced by the Kuwaiti government, which will take effect starting March 1 to June 30, 2011. Many of them, however, like embassy personnel at the Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal embassies would start amnesty arrangement only after the scheduled holidays in Kuwait.
Press reports state that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor had formally announced amnesty program on Tuesday after a supreme committee and HH the Amir finally approved the proposal, “The Philippine embassy is glad to hear about the amnesty program and we’ll definitely assist our people in taking advantage of the amnesty,” Rea Oreta, Philippine Embassy, Vice Consul told the Kuwait Times yesterday.
She further noted that the embassy hasn’t received any formal notification regarding the amnesty, “We are still awaiting the official memo from the Ministry. But we understand what situation they are facing right now. They are in the last days of preparation for their country’s celebration, so we cannot demand them to provide us guidelines right away; we shall wait until its ready,” she added.
Bangladesh First Secretary to Kuwait M. Hilal to Kuwait echoed the same concern as they also have to welcome their country’s president in Kuwait, “We are ready for it and looking forward to assisting our national in that regards. But, we’ll start talking about it right after the national day since we are also expecting our president anytime this week,” he said.
Nepal’s Second Secretary Pushpa Raj Bhattarai also expressed enthusiasm on giving assistance to people, come amnesty time. “If formal guidelines come, then, we are going to hold a meeting to properly implement the amnesty program among our people. In fact, we are considering a campaign as far as Jahra and Wafra for our people to avail of the amnesty,” Bhattarai mentioned.
The amnesty, which is reportedly going to take effect next month, will allow illegal expats to correct their residency status or go back to their home country without paying penalties during a four-month period. Accordingly, when the amnesty program is availed of, expats will not be blacklisted from re-entering Kuwait and fingerprint records will not be taken if they decide to leave Kuwait during the given grace period.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is committed to abolish sponsorship system as soon as the labor authority is established. This was recently asserted by Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari. She said that setting up the body will soon be organized by April this year. Al-Kandari was speaking to reporters during the inauguration of Al-Qurain Ceremonial Hall. He also mentioned that the Amiri amnesty for residency violators will be enforced as planned.
Ben Garcia, Staff Writer