3,600 Indians return from Kuwait, India asks for ‘time and space’

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) With around 3,600 Indians having returned from Kuwait this year, India Friday said it has asked the Gulf country’s government to “provide time and space” to expatriates overstaying or on irregular visas to return on their own or to regularise their stay as per its law.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here at a briefing that 3,600 Indians have returned home since the beginning of the year. These include 1,000 who had been issued Emergency Certificates and 2,600 who had their passports.

Following some instances of Indians complaining of harassment by the Kuwaiti authorities, the Indian embassy has set up round-the-clock help desks and also provided an email where Indians could convey their problems, he said.

While the embassy has received 600 telephone calls and 100 emails till now, Akbaruddin clarified that none of them related to complaints of harassment.

“None of them related to any specific case of harassment,” he said, adding that the messages from the Indians were about their fears and apprehensions.

He said that “any case of harassment will be taken up (with the Kuwaiti authorities) and taken to its logical conclusion”.

He also said that the Indian embassy and Indian envoy Satish C. Mehta were in touch with the local Indian organisations as well as with “large employers ” employing more than 5,000 people to find out if any Indians had any problems.

Akbaruddin said India has also taken up the issue with the Kuwaiti authorities, in New Delhi and in Kuwait, “and our view is should they want to crack down.. they should provide space and time to expatriates to leave of their own.. Provide time or regularise their stay in accordance with Kuwaiti law”.

There are 700,000 Indians in Kuwait, an increase of 25,000 over last year, he informed.

Kuwait has announced a policy ro reduce the number of its expatriate workers over a 10-year period, under which it is targetting expatriates who overstayed or have irregular visas.

In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where 2.8 million Indians work, the kingdom’s Nitaqat work policy has also affected Indian workers and thousands of them have returned home.

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