The Philippine Embassy appeals for leniency in the current strict implementation of passport and residency laws for expats in Kuwait or better known as law 121/1959. The law was fully implemented towards the end of December 2014 in Kuwait, creating a panic among expatriates who fell afoul of the regulations.
According to Kuwait Times report, the law stipulates that residency permit (visa) of foreign workers will be limited to the validity of passports. Filipinos continue to flock the embassy in the hundreds to renew their passports to correct their status. “The Philippine embassy will visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week to address our concern,” said Philippine Charge d’ Affairs to Kuwait Atty Raul Dado.
The embassy noticed the influx of Filipinos renewing their passports immediately after the implementation of the law. He said the formal request will be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week to address the situation. “We want to request if we could get enough time of at least six months grace period for the Filipinos in Kuwait to correct their documents. The queue started last week and I am pretty sad to see the long queue of people wanting their documents to be corrected,” he said. Dado said they received 500 passports renewal requests every day.
Passport extension Filipinos also complained that some of their citizens are being asked to pay the penalty even if their old passports bear extended periods of validity. “We would also like to request to honor the extension given to our citizens on their passports considering the circumstances we are facing in terms of making the new ones. As many know, we gave a maximum 45-60 days period to get the new one, hope all this things will be considered by the Ministry” he added.
But in order to address the influx of Filipinos at the Philippine embassy in Faiha, Dado said starting tomorrow, the embassy will be implementing a queuing system. “While awaiting reply from the Ministry, starting tomorrow we will be implementing the so-called queuing system. I hope it would somehow ease the condition at the embassy,” he added.
Dominador Dalija, 45, and Jose Marie Gregorio, 28, were just two among the queue. “I’ve been here since seven in the morning to finish early but as you noticed we are just halfway and its already noon. I hope they’ll make it better next time. They must have a better system to manage the people. I have more work to do but I cancelled it when it is very obvious that I will not be able to make it, been here for four hours now,” Gregorio said. “They should add people to manned the need of everyone. This is very disappointing, we have to wait for the long queue and you see we are braving the cold weather here,” Dalija mentioned.
Two-year validity Although on the books for years, the law has not been implemented. Now the government will require that passports be valid for two years or more for an expatriate to obtain a residency visa in Kuwait. Passports valid for two years or less will only get one year residency. Holders of passports valid for less than year cannot be issued a residency visa or even renew their visa. The government says fine of KD2 per day will be implemented to those who will violate the law.