A foreign worker in the United States. (David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)

We Should Treat Foreign Laborers Better

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, June 19

A growing number of labor migrants have been deported from Kuwait in recent months after violating their visa requirements. Many others have evaded deportation and chosen to stay in the country until further notice. This begs an important question: How long will these workers remain unemployed in Kuwait? How long will they require government assistance programs for food, housing and education? What is the fate of all these people, especially those who violated Kuwaiti immigration law? How will these individuals be dealt with from a legal, social, political and moral standpoint? My personal view is that passing strict, archaic laws to deal with these individuals is illogical. We must be more flexible in how we deal with migrant laborers. Take, for example, a laborer who is now nearing his sixties. This expatriate first arrived in Kuwait in his mid-twenties to work in a respectable job, which he has held ever since. Now, at retirement age, this man is being asked to leave the country he has called home for the past three decades because we only provide work visas to those under the age of 40. How is this decision right? If this employee is committed to Kuwait and respects its laws, why should he be discriminated against just because another expatriate violated the law? I hope that honest, dignified and law-abiding men and women who work in our country will not be mistreated by our institutions simply because they belong to a broader collective that is demonized and vilified. There are thousands of honest, respectful and conscientious expatriates whose employers greatly depend on them. They must not be mistreated just because a handful of other migrants abused Kuwaiti migration laws. – Iqbal Al-Ahmad (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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