Kuwait approves new sweeping penalties against visa traders, illegal expat workers

Kuwait’s Cabinet has approved a new foreign residency draft law that proposes sweeping penalties against visa traders and expatriates working illegally in the country; Kuwait Times reported on Tuesday.

The new law aims to clamp down on illegal practices surrounding the employment of expat workers; such as employing workers tied to a different sponsor; or illicitly purchasing residency permits for workers.

It increases fines and jail-time for those who overstay their visa or enter the country illegally; according to the report.

Visa traders who facilitate the entry of illegal expats and renew residencies or employ expats illegally will be fined between 5,000 KD ($1,6334) and 10,000 KD ($32,668) and jailed for three years; Kuwait Times reported.

The fine will be charged for every illegal expat; and the punishment will be doubled; in case if the violator is a civil servant or if they repeat the crime within five years.

As an illustration expat workers who pay to get a work permit or renew their residencies will be jailed for one year and fined 1,000 KD ($3,267), Kuwait Times said.

However, employers who do not pay their workers’ wages will be jailed for two years and fined between 5,000 KD ($16,334); and 10,000 KD ($32,668).

The same penalty applies for working illegally with other employers; according to the new draft law.