Hyderabad: The Kuwaiti government on January 23 announced that it won’t impose any penalty on Indian workers forced to illegally extend their stay in the country.
The amnesty has been granted from January 29 to February 22. Thousands of Indians are forced to stay in Kuwait because of non-payment of salaries.
“This comes as a great relief for the Indian workers,” said social worker Shaheen Sayyed who had taken up their cause.
A worker, Naresh Naidu, who was employed with Kharifi National and had extended his stay to demand his salary dues, is among those keen to make use of the amnesty.
Naidu, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, told The Times of India that he went to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait and submitted his details so that he could return home. “I found many workers from Telugu states eager to return home,” he said.
The penalty for overstaying in Kuwait is two Kuwaiti Dinars, i.e. 424 rupees a day. The unpaid workers, who had overstayed by several months, could not afford to pay the fine.
The amnesty comes in the wake of India’s Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh’s recent visit to the country. Singh had taken up the issue of the workers who had not been paid by Kharafi National Company. He also spoke to a Kuwaiti minister to waive penalty for those who wanted to return to India.
The amnesty also means that the workers can once again go back to Kuwait legally to take up jobs.
In another development, Indian workers employed with Kharafi National and those who had quit when salaries were being denied, have reportedly received an offer from the company.
An Indian worker, Irfan, said that a company representative had offered 25 percent to 33 percent of their salary dues. However, workers did not respond to the offer as they want all their dues to be cleared. Some are making use of the amnesty to return without salaries as they are desperate to go back to their families in India and don’t want to suffer more uncertainty.