The visa trade which was dealt successive blows after the authorities succeeded in identifying fictitious companies and profiteers there are suspicions the visa traders have become active once again after barely recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Al-Qabas monitored the advertisements posted on social media which show ‘brokers’ offer for sale work permits and commercial visit visas, transfer of residence – all for a fee.

It is strange the visa traders who works as middlemen for companies are working from a different angle – selling commercial visit visas for 400 dinars since its duration is just one month, is non-transferable, but the price of a transferable commercial visa is 1,000 dinars; the price of a ‘free visa’ ranges between 1,500 and 1,700 dinars, as the person who purchases this visa get the residence permit linked to the academic qualification, ‘if any’.

There are those traders who help in transfer of residence between companies with government, civil or craft contracts, and the transfer price ranges between 500 and 650 dinars, while the ‘driver’ visa fetches 700 dinars.

An official from the Public Manpower Authority (PAM) told Al-Qabas a majority of brokers are active in Egypt and India to attract job seekers in Kuwait. The source stressed the continued pursuit of fictitious companies and residence dealers, indicate about 2,000 fictitious companies have been referred to the Prosecution since the emergence of the Corona pandemic revealed hundreds of people were involved in bringing menial workers to Kuwait.

The official indicated the PAM Labor Protection Sector and Inspection Department deal on a daily basis with dozens of complaints, and investigations are underway to find out whether there is a link between them and the visa trade.

Al-Qabas contacted an official of a tourism and travel agency in Egypt, and he confirmed that it holds a license in Cairo, indicating the availability of commercial visas for those who wish to travel to Kuwait, but these visas are cannot be converted into residence permits.

When a security source was asked about this announcement, he said: “This type of visa allows the person to convert to a residence permit on the applicant’s file only.” However, it seems that the file approved for granting visas does not have a sufficient quota, and therefore it is used for issuing monthly for new visits.

Despite the repeated warnings issued by PAM regarding what is known as a ‘free’ work permit in the country, the visa traders continue to delude their victims especially the youth who wish to come to Kuwait.

The price of the free visa ranges between 1,500 and 1,700 dinars and its duration is one year. Those who purchase it obtain a residence permit with linked to their academic qualifications such as legal researchers, accountants, drivers and others.

It was clear that to obtain work visas to Kuwait as advertised on the social media, the conditions set by PAM regarding issuing new work permits and linking them to academic qualifications and assessing the need of each file of employment has become a dilemma for many.

The visa traders stipulated in some of their advertisements the necessity of having academic qualification certificates stamped and certified by the Kuwaiti embassy and “higher education” in the country of issuance in order to be able to issue the permit with the required title.

An official source in the Public Authority for Manpower stressed that there is zero tolerance for the visa trade and “we will not allow the random recruitment of workers to the country.’

It was clear in the monitoring of social networking sites, especially Facebook, that there was a wide decrease in visa trade compared to what it was before the Corona crisis, given that the state agencies, especially PAM and the Interior Ministry has made extensive efforts to curb the spread of this virus (visa trade).

This type of trade is sometimes classified as human trafficking, and many licenses and files of companies were being investigated by the Employment Protection Sector’s Emergency Committee and were referred to the Public Prosecution.

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