Kuwait: Overcrowding of prison delays arrests on 120,000 expats

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Kuwaiti authorities’ planned extensive security campaign to arrest more than 120,000 expatriates who are in violation of the residency law has been postponed due to overcrowding in the Central Prison and deportation centre, says reports.

The campaign was seen as a step to fix the demographic imbalance by deporting illegals, Al Jarida reported.

Taking into account the difficulties faced by expatriates during the coronavirus crisis, the Government offered an amnesty period for illegals to leave the country in April without paying fines.

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Some expats turned themselves in, and thus are awaiting deportation at the deportation centre, which is overcrowded as flights were unavailable. There are also a large number of detainees in police stations.

The agencies concerned at the ministry have delayed the date for the implementation of the campaign, pending final procedures for the deportation of expatriates who were released from prison and from police custody, which will begin once commercial flights resume.

Following this, an intensive campaign will be launched to arrest more than 120,000 expatriates who are staying illegally in Kuwait. The daily said, quoting sources, that the campaign will likely start before the end of this year.

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It remains unclear if the ministry will provide another opportunity for violators to legalise their status, and this decision will be taken by the Interior Minister.

According to a Kuwaiti official, 92,000 expats left Kuwait between April and June, including illegals. Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

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