Hundreds of undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait gathered at their embassy on Monday to take advantage of a general amnesty for foreign violators of the country’s residency laws.
This comes after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was considering banning workers being sent to Kuwait because of abuses, including "rapes," he said were being inflicted on Filipino domestic helpers.
He did not mention specific cases of abuse. “Either we impose a total ban or we have the correction,” he said.
Kuwait has stressed that it is still waiting for details on the abuses claimed by Duterte, according to Deputy Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Khalid Al-Jarallah.
He added: “We have already expressed our regret and surprise. Again, we are sorry and surprised when we hear such statements by the President of the Philippines, especially as we have explained to the Philippine officials our position on the cases, and asked them to identify the cases they referred to; but they did not provide us with any details."
Meanwhile, the general amnesty will run from January 29 until February 22 and is expected to benefit nearly 130,000 illegal residents, according to Kuwait’s interior ministry.
Those that choose to participate can leave the country through any port without getting permission from the authority or paying any penalties.
They can also choose to legalize their status and continue residing in Kuwait after paying all fines and obtaining a valid visa.