Ex­pats with no jobs have no place in Kuwait: Sheikh Mazen

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: A se­nior In­te­rior Min­is­ter of­fi­cial de­fended him­self from ac­cu­sa­tions of be­ing an­tag­o­nis­tic to­wards ex­pa­tri­ates in Kuwait, say­ing that he has full re­spect to for­eign­ers work­ing legally in the coun­try.

“We can never forget the fa­vors of ex­pa­tri­ates who con­trib­uted in the de­vel­op­ment of Kuwait and have taught us in schools and ed­u­cated us,” said Ma­jor Gen­eral Sheikh Mazen Al-Jar­rah Al-Sabah, the In­te­rior Min­istry’s As­sis­tant Un­der­sec­re­tary for Cit­i­zen­ship and Res­i­dency Af­fairs. “I am talk­ing about mar­ginal la­bor forces who are sub­jected to in­jus­tice.”

Sheikh Mazen made con­tro­ver­sial re­marks in a tele­vised in­ter­view last month, in which he claimed that some ex­pa­tri­ates of­ten go to wed­ding halls un­in­vited in or­der to eat there for free. He also pointed out priv­i­leges he said ex­pa­tri­ates enjoy in Kuwait but do not nec­es­sar­ily have ac­cess to in their home coun­tries. “I am not racist... I am talk­ing about un­em­ployed work­ers. I am against their pres­ence in this sit­u­a­tion, and hope that it is rec­ti­fied,” he clar­i­fied in state­ments made last Thurs­day.

The se­nior of­fi­cial said that the large num­ber of mar­ginal ex­pa­tri­ate work­ers who do not legally have a job in Kuwait - es­ti­mated be­tween 70,000 and 100,000 - is a se­ri­ous prob­lem that needs to be ad­dressed. “Kuwait can­not han­dle the large num­ber of ex­pa­tri­ate work­ers,” he said. “Who­ever has a job is wel­comed, but there are ex­pa­tri­ates who do not have a job. This is clear to ev­ery­body, and I am welling to lead an in­spec­tion tour around the coun­try in or­der to re­veal the num­ber of mar­ginal la­bor liv­ing here.”

“As a coun­try of law, we pro­tect ex­pa­tri­ates and their rights. How­ever, those who do not have a job do not have a place among us. This is how it should be, and that is what we be­lieve should be done,” Sheikh Mazen told re­ports.

Re­gard­ing news about in­creas­ing visa fees for ex­pa­tri­ates, Sheikh Mazen said that a study on that re­gard has al­ready been fin­ished and sent to the of­fice of Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sheikh Mo­ham­mad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah. “We are wait­ing for the le­gal opin­ion be­fore putting the new fees into prac­tice,” he said with­out pro­vid­ing a spe­cific date. —Al-Rai

Sheikh Mazen Al-Jar­rah Al-Sabah

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