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Kuwait: Crackdown on expats - Indian Embassy officials clarify situation

Kuwait: Crackdown on expats - Indian Embassy officials clarify situation

Wilson Saldanha, Shirthady/Kuwait
Daijiworld Media Network - Kuwait

Kuwait, Jun 11: There was a feeling that Kuwait was the best place for expatriates where they can earn and save more as compared to other Gulf countries. Cheaper petrol, luxury cars, world’s cheapest electricity, free local calls with annual subscription, free incoming calls on mobiles, uninterrupted water supply, no taxes….. The list is very long. But with the recent day’s developments, Expatriates are having a nightmare with lots of checkings in every corner, restrictions on daily routines, crackdown on illegal residents, deportations etc. It started off a couple of months ago in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Due to some facts and lots of rumours, expatriates in Kuwait especially Indians are scared to go out of their homes. The normal routine is completely interrupted and the roads, shopping malls and supermarkets looks half empty even during weekends. Some blame government and others their respective embassies.

To bring the fact to the public, Indian Embassy Kuwait arranged a press meet and many media personnel attend the same. India's Ambassador to Kuwait Satish C Mehta, Vidhu P Nair, the Charge'D Affairs of Indian Embassy Kuwait, Balram Kumar Upadhyay, Counsellor (Consular & Chief Welfare Officer) and Vinod Kumar first secretary (Information, Press & Cultural wing) explained the situation and asked the Indians not to spread the rumours.

Generally Kuwait officials are targeting work, residency and general law and order violators as well as those engaged in illegal activities. There is no need of panic if the stay is legal. According to the Embassy statement, India’s Ambassador to Kuwait Satish C Mehta and other officials are in regular contact with the higher officials of Kuwait Government and regularly discuss the present situation of Indians in Kuwait.

It is not fact that only Indians are targeted. Indians have a good reputation in Kuwait and they respect Indian community. "We should abide by the rules of the country we live when we are outside our country. The Government is mainly targeting the expatriates who are in Kuwait without any legal visa or residents and the ones with domestic residence and working outside. In Kuwait, the 20 number resident holders (domestic servants) are allowed to work only in their sponsor’s house and not allowed to work outside which is considered as illegal. As Government wants to stop this, a massive crackdown was arranged. Even though it looks like officers are targeting Indians, the fact is Indians are the largest community in Kuwait with greater percentage of total expatriate population. Indians are less than 28% of the total number of expatriates deported this year. In 2013 total number of Indians deported are less than 3,000 out of which about 1,500 were due to the recent raids and others are due to routine checkings and other offences. The concern about the present situation of Indians is serious, genuine and valued," they said.

The Indian Embassy has heard about mishandling while checking (such as forgotten documents, withdrawal of legal licenses etc) which needs to be brought to notice. The ambassador urged the Indian community to inform embassy along with exact date, time, location and incident with a verbal and written complaint. This correct information is required as Kuwait has more than 60 police stations. If the case is genuine, Embassy can contact government officials and arrange for the release of innocents. Without any basic information and proper complaints, the Embassy cannot approach any government officials in general guess. In case of arrests due to any illegal activities/stay, Embassy cannot do anything as all residents should aware of the rules in Kuwait.

Embassy officials have visited the detention and deportation centers and met many Indians and checked the conditions there. They have met more than 70 detainees this week and they have not received any complaints about the food, water or living conditions. The fact is not as the rumors spread on the condition of detainees. Even though the government can’t supply the choice of food due to different nationalities, sufficient food is provided to inmates. There are 24 hours doctors and other facilities. When visited detention centre, it was found that the inmates were only 80% of total capacity and nothing was over filled/crowded. Indian Embassy is regularly visiting these detention and deportation centers. Indian Government has put efforts to help the Indians who were deported to far cities of India by making arrangements to send them to the closest location of their native. About 20% of total detainees are ladies.

Normally the detainees are deported with their passport. In case of absence of passport the deportation is done with the travel documents issued by Embassy. Even though the crackdown was heavily done, the embassy has issued only 930 travel documents till date in 2013 which was 460 in 2012 for the same period. This month around 140 travel documents were issued. Even though Embassy is requesting officials to give time to legalize the stay or go back, it is important to respect visa procedures of Kuwait. As of now Indians are the largest community in Kuwait with increase of approximately 1,000 new entries every week. An illegal entry increases the number of Indians and forces the officials to attack on community. Indian embassy has conveyed the panic of Indian to very high level officials and trying hard for the solution to protect innocents. With a promise of support to Indian community upon the proper complaints with details of incident the press meet was dispersed with a note to spread the fact to the community.

Recently I had received an email mentioning it from IDAK (Indian Dentists' Alliance in Kuwait) on this issue suggesting the dos and don’ts for a peaceful leaving. Following are some of the suggestions mentioned in the mail along with some additions from my side.

The following precautions should be taken to avoid unnecessary troubles:

• Carry civil ID at all times even if visiting your neighbor house or to the car or attached shopping store below the building.
• Ensure Civil id address and place of residence match.
• Don't be over zealous to provide information. If authorities ask for your civil ID give your civil ID only. Not your spouses and children and driving licenses and passports. High probability of confiscating under the pretext that you don't need more than one license in a family.
• On house to house checking the authorities will be accompanied by the Harris (building watch man). Do not resist or avoid opening doors. They are warranted to check officially and they will break it down.
• Stay calm and respond to question. Do not try to provoke them in any way.
• When Traveling in a car with family carry proper documentation of the entire Family including small children such as Valid Car Registration (check expiry date on your vehicle registration), Civil ID, Driving License, Affidavit of marriage or certificate copy.
• Avoid transporting friends or family whose civil id doesn’t match your residential address. That is perceived as taxing.
• Avoid car pooling that is perceived as taxing.
• Friends traveling to the airport - take a taxi instead of a asking a friend to drop you - Bon voyage.
• Avoid monthly shopping strategies. Large bulk shopping is pointed out as purchases for resale.
• Shop at malls and supermarkets as small expatriate shopping centers are prime spots for checks

Traffic and other Violations

• Don't violate traffic rules.
• Red Light = Stop
• Yellow Light you can go carefully
• Green - go - start off slowly maxing to 40-60 km only within that area
• At red even if a cop is controlling and asks you to go and that it’s ok as he is controlling - watch out and go.
• Don't jump lanes without signaling.
• No mobile phones while driving and walking on the street.
• Avoid driving under influence of alcohol/ other substances
• Park your cars only in the areas allotted for parking.
• Never park in the area reserved for differently-abled persons.
• House wives/dependants with licenses beware - they are invalid once you start to work.
• License received as students are invalid once you start to work.
• Husband dropping wives or vice versa working for two different sponsors carry copy of marriage certificate as proof of relationship.
• Private baby sittings, tuition classes, gyms or any other training classes without license are illegal in Kuwait.
• Avoid late night parties and large noice.
• Avoid alcohol, drugs or any other illegal things.
• Those with pending dues with MEW, telephones, internet and cell phones-pay-up and keep your services - They may be planning on raising the charges and fines.
• Regularly check and pay any traffic fines in time and specially befor travelling out of country.
• VOIP calls are illegal. Avoid them for the time being. Skype, viber, internet callling, mobile dialers on the phones are being inspected.
• They may also use IP addresses to identify phones using calling dialer.
• Avoid unnecessary travels. Avoid bringing any relatives and friends from India for the time being.
• Last but not the least, be in touch with the Indian Embassy if you find any harassment or cases of innocents falling into wrong hands. When someone is arrested, let them ask for consular access. Even friends can inform the incident to the Embassy so that they can handle genuine cases.

It is better to be aware of the rules of the country we stay. Be legal and be safe. Let us spread this word to everyone for a peaceful living.

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Comment on this article

  • carma, mumbai

    Thu, Jan 30 2014

    Does anyone have an idea of the procedure for deportation and how many days after arrest you are sent to the native country?URGENT please

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Wilson Saldanha, Shirthady/Kuwait

    Thu, Jun 13 2013

    Please check the embassy press release below.

    Helpline established by Embassy of India
    The Embassy has been in regular contact with local authorities regarding the ongoing checking of expatriates. The Embassy has also conveyed to them the concerns, fears and apprehensions of the community in this regard. The authorities in Kuwait have conveyed that strict instructions have been issued to ensure that there is no harassment or improper treatment of expatriates by those undertaking checkings. They have also said that should there be any complaint, the same could be conveyed at the following:

    Inspection Department
    Ministry of Interior, Kuwait
    Fax: 22435580
    Mob: 66906651

    The Embassy would like to request Indian expatriates to ensure that they abide by all local laws, rules and regulations regarding Residency, Traffic and other matters. It would be prudent to always carry Civil ID and other relevant documents such as Driving License, etc. In case, an Indian expatriate encounters any improper treatment during checking, it may be conveyed immediately with full details and contact particulars to the Embassy at the following:

    Phone No: 67623639
    E-Mail ID:

    These contact details are exclusively for the above-mentioned purpose only.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Errol, Mangalore / Kuwait

    Wed, Jun 12 2013

    Hi Roshan agree with you @ Flavian what do have to say about getting detained for 2 hours because your address says Fintas and your shopping in Kuwait City even after holding a valid residence permit 18 this is ridiculous Mr. Ambassador really needs to know whats goin on also our sleepy embassy needs to step up their game instead of giving us such fake clarifications.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • jayant s, riyadh/suratkal

    Wed, Jun 12 2013

    Same precaution prevail in Saudi
    Arabia and little more strict, now you can see the price we are paying for leaving the country to lead a better life. No complaints

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Clinton, M'lore / Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Jun 12 2013

    What rules and regulations are these, indian embassy is just playing parrot to kuwaiti delegators ... why cant they for once stand up ... there is a way and method for things to be done ... however kuwaiti's dont follow this. I have seen kuwaiti police writing tickets on the main road as if they are submitting pamplets ... as guess wht only expats were caught ... suprising!!!!
    Rules like sit at home dont go out ... dont provoke the kuwaiti's, wht if he s already provoked must we still be silent?
    Shame on the indian embassy ....

    DisAgree Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn, canadaq

    Wed, Jun 12 2013

    Kuwaitis will regret for sure if India leave that land. Then kuwaitiis only eat sand and kajoor. Kuwaitis life is more danger then you Indian work there. Iran is waiting to capture that land and arabs will go homeless and look for a shelter in India and they you Indians has to give these arabs a jobs. sound good people. that is the fact

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'lore / Kwt

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    What kind of support or assistance will the Embassy provide, other than issuing passports or emergency travel documents, when detainees are forcibly deported without fair enquiries or proper verifications?

    Let me narrate a recent incident. An Indian lady's passport was being deliberately withheld by her sponsor, in addition to denying her employment benefits. She approached the Indian Embassy to file her complaint which in turn directed her to the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour. The Ministry officials were kind enough in assisting her by directing her employer to pay all her dues and to arrange for transfer of her sponsorship. Now regarding her withheld passport the Ministry advised her to approach the court. On filing the case, the Kuwaiti court ruled in favour of the Indian lady, directing the sponsor to hand over the passport to the holder. The sponsor was adamant in disobeying the court order. He refused to give back her passport stating that he had lost it. When she approached the Embassy for assistance in retrieving her passport, the attending official asked her to submit a written request with English translation of the court order. The lady did accordingly and was told to come in three days assuring her that action will be taken to get back her passport. After three days, they said that she will have to come whenever she is called to the Embassy. There was no call for a fortnight. Finally when the disgusted lady personally approached the Embassy, she was asked to submit another letter stating that her passport has been lost and request the Embassy to issue new passport, which was the easy way out for the Indian Embassy. What else can one expect from the Embassy?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • devadas, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Sach kadva hotha hai!! any one dare to??

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • wilson, mangalore/kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    The root cause of labour law violations in kuwait is because of the "sponsership system".poor people who come to kuwait by sending their life times savings and taking loans at high intrest rates or seeking debts from their home countries falling prey to the sponsership system and becoming trapped.they are left in a state of helplesness,they are living a pathetic life.the majority of indians obtained visa no 20 by giving huge amount to the brokers,not sure how much the sponsers getting from this amount.these amounts could reach kd 500 or more.many of the middle class people come with a lot of expectations that they will be able to earn a lot of money in kuwait in a short span of time.but they realize the real facts only when they reach here.they are not able to find suitable work with good salary.the accomodation facilities are very poor and below average.many of them become mentally frustrated within a few weeks.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Hi Roshan,

    I agree with your point.

    Such harsh punishment never ever took place in Kuwait. They were so sympathetic towards Indians. Sometimes it is hard to beleive how so many Indians have been deported. such incidents are spreading like wild fire.

    I do not want to argue but who can stop this menace. I live in Salmiya area for the past 32 years and now I do not get sleep in the night because of police syren through out the night.

    I do not know when such things would come across my fly members. God forbid. Until then why to live under fear which will not keep people psychologially balanced but precaution is better than cure. There are 1MM plus Indians in Kuwait and do you think that we will leave and run out of Kuwait?

    Hope for the best. what is in Kuwait authorities mind we do not know.

    Time in Kuwait is not the same how it used be so far !

    DisAgree [3] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan D'Silva, Managlore/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Thanks Flavian...I just pray for innocents who are behind bars. I understand we cant stop it but our indian goverment would have done much better instead of one simple sentence of conclusion "there is not need to panic" just can't imagine the fear and insecurity of innocent residents. Our Indian goverment doesn't understand as all these govt employees are provided with enough security/embassy cars etc.. Some poor people look out for better prospects but end up being a victim for some visa traders..pity them.. may god bless them and enlighten their mind to stay far from these errogant officials/visa traders/agents.. govt needs to minimise or stop providing labour to forfein countries specially middle east as situation is getting worse day by day...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    These 'some Indians and subcontinent people' might not be as lucky as you to have a decent job to stick to for '30' years . They might have been forced to engage into such'illegal' activities due to their inability to pay ikama fees. There are many cases of innocent people buying '20 no.Visa's' and falling into a trap because either the sponsor will file a false runaway police complaint or the passport will be confiscated by the Sponsor. Such people are compelled to do anything to repay the debts back at home.Please look at the situation in a wider perspective. I wonder ,if your opinion would have remained the same,if a new law was passed to deport all expatriates who are residents for more than 25 years.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Walter, Kinnigoli/Mumbai

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Aaj nahin to kal...laut ke a foreign country we are always foreigner's. Mera Bharat Mahan. Live Kingsize...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Dear Friends,

    Thanks for your concern.

    The guidelines/precautions expressed by Indian Embassy are worthwhile to be followed by Indian expatriates in Kuwait.

    For your kind information, I am in Kuwait for over three decades, got married and even my children are well settled in Kuwait. If I blame the country which gave me an opportunity to work and earn and make my life comfortable. I am grateful to God first and to Kuwaiat for all the comforts what I am enjoying today.

    The Government has taken such drastic step because some Indians and subcontinent people misused the opportunities to such a bad extent that no government would tolerate such bad things to happen on their own land . I do not want name the bad activities the people were being involved themselves, and this is the consequence today that the common general are facing . But so far there is no problem for the people who are employed and living legally and following Kuwait Governments laid down regulations.
    The Government already brought to public knowledge that they would reduce foreign population by 1,000,000 during coming 10 years’ time.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan D'Silva, Managlore/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013


    What you have to say on midnight residential raides on inncocent lives??? Raides on houses when only ladies or kids are at home.For the past 3 decades did you ever see officials being so harsh on innocents, discarding driving license, not giving chance to talk before they are put behind bars etc etc....I beleive authorities are still not finding the root cause for stop illegals/illegal activities....hope you understand what I am talking about..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • JK, Udupi/Dubai

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Finally, if you get any chance to work in Dubai, Dubai is the best city among all gulf countries.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    The do and don't list is very scary. You need not do or do exactly opposite to that in the list and still live like a free bird in India. But I am sure the lure of money (not bad actually...after all it is money that you need day in and day out for everything from self needs, to provide to family or for that matter even for good and honest deeds) will make people comply to these very rigid list of dos and donts. Looks like the wealth gap between ordinary Kuwatis and expats is reducing each day which I am sure must be the motive behind "protection (glorified word for sanitization) of homeland". Indian embassy officials are just another government employees with only difference from the desi version being the nice clothing....same ink in a different bottled.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peace Lover, India

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Mile Gher mein Aab w Dana, to yeh daam tak na pahunche !
    If the bird get sufficient water and grain in its nest, it will not travel to the TRAP.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mark, Udyavara

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    If you are there legally & have proper documentation, why worry?

    Reason why people still stick on in the gulf countries illegally is that they can't face the reality and truth living back at home!

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Richard, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Instead of taking up the issue with Kuwaiti government , embassy is acting like a postman. 90% of people live legally. If someone is working illegally punish them and also the sponsor. Carrying civil ID is fine. But don't shop, don't go with friends etc etc....bu$%$#

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Manohar Ananda, Mangalore / Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    "No mobile phones while walking on the street?" I don't think Kuwait's law say so.....

    DisAgree [6] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jess, Moodbidri

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Very informative article....lot of relief...Only thing not to involve in illegal your job..

    DisAgree [3] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rahil, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    When Marathis try to stop Biharis and others from entering Maharastra then what is happening in Kuwait and Saudi is compeltely justified. We all have the right to safeguard the interest of our own people.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinson Vaz, Kadri, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    This is a article which brings a little relief for the worried lot. While a lot has said by the Ambassador Mr. Mehta as assurance, I believe a separate set up of an email would be very advantages for the Indian expats. It is time to be tech savvy and this saves the outpost officials a lot of time from being wasted. Further a compulsory registration for Indians in the Embassy will be very helpful. The registration site provided now does not function effectively. All other suggestions from the Indian expats if implemented will be very beneficial.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinod Lewis, Kallianpur Bahrain

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Good move by the INDIAN EMBASSY-KUWAIT . Instead of defending its citizens,they are busy protecting their own luxuries. Keep it up!!!

    DisAgree [5] Agree [48] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Kiran VSA, Udupi

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Not surprising at all, they are justfied in protecting their homeland from immigrants Arent we complaining about bengalis ? Its best Indians think about jobs and respect at home.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Don Amnon, Lower Bendoor, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 11 2013

    Last but not the least,Its better not take job in Kuwait....Try you luck in India....

    DisAgree [8] Agree [75] Reply Report Abuse

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