Offices shut as crackdown launched on companies involved in selling visas
Prosecution in Kuwait leads to business closed in Egypt
KUWAIT CITY, June 13: Coronavirus seems to have dropped the berry leaf from residency traders in Egypt and Kuwait after complaints of their victims in the country resulted in the arrest of many who have since been referred with their companies to prosecution.
The sources at the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower that companies specialized in bringing in or employing workers in Kuwait have closed their offices in Egypt, while others have suspended their business with caution, following the crackdown on the perpetrators of residency and human trafficking crimes and their prosecution in Kuwait.
The same sources added that several offices in Cairo and the governorates of Menoufia and Asyut, for fear of prosecution, closed their doors completely and laid off their employees, after opening the residency trade file wide open in Kuwait, because their trade depended on selling “free visa” to Egyptian workers wishing to travel to Kuwait.
In the same context, a state of chaos and anger reigns in Egypt after hundreds of workers who bought “free visa” and were subjected to medical examination could not travel to Kuwait after the suspension of flights, which caused their entry permits to expire and their dreams to travel evaporated with loss of funds adding up to 50,000 pounds.
In light of the repercussions of the spread of coronavirus and the detection of human trafficking crimes in Kuwait, several informed sources at the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower stated that several Kuwaiti companies – represented by Egyptian employment offices abroad whose management has been taken over by Egyptian brokers – have closed their offices and suspended their businesses in Egypt after narrowing the screws on the perpetrators of those crimes who are to be prosecuted in Kuwait.
Abdul-Ghani Muhammad, an employee of an employment recruitment office in Manial area in Cairo, revealed that he was informed of the closure of the office and suspension of their activities due to the suspension of visas and flights.
He revealed the aggravation of residency trade crisis in Kuwait and besieging of perpetrators makes going back to work impossible. “The office belongs to a wellknown figure in Kuwait and he has several offices in his homeland for recruiting domestic workers and also provides Hajj and Umrah services,” he said, noting he “opened the office in 2007 through his lawyer in Cairo, who has been running the company since its inauguration, which depends in a way on selling free visas to Egyptian workers in exchange for huge sums that are made through intermediaries between the two countries.”
In Mohandessin, Adel Farghali, an employee of a recruitment company indicated the fear of exposing free-trade trafficking was behind the closure of the office that has been operating since 2010, indicating he worked there two years ago and witnessed the activity of visa trading during the period of his work for hundreds of Egyptian workers.
Farghali pointed out that “most of the Egyptian employment offices in Kuwait are owned by Kuwaiti figures who delegate their mediators in Cairo to manage them. The mediators work on marketing the visa and attracting Egyptian workers for amounts exceeding 150,000 pounds, according to the type of residence, duration, and availability of the driver’s license.”
In Menoufia, a source revealed that “one of the biggest offices in the city has closed its doors permanently due to the involvement of its Kuwaiti owner in the case of human trafficking in Kuwait, especially as he owns similar companies in Kuwait that are working to bring in Asian laborers.”
He said the owner of the company “instructed its Egyptian manager to stop the activity and cancel the permit and leave the rented apartment as soon as possible for fear of revealing his suspicious activity, pointing out that the company is famous for working directly on the so-called free visas in Kuwait.”
On the level of victims, Mohamed Ragab who patronized this type of fake visa before the suspension of air traffic said he was accompanied by 11 individuals like him and they all paid a total of 1.5 million Egyptian pounds. He detailed the amount paid by each individual to the bogus company; where each of them paid 125,000 pounds. It started with 8,000 pounds for the employment office last February and after 3 weeks the office contacted and informed them of the arrival of entry permits, so each individual paid 20,000 pounds for it, then signed 3 trust receipts, each valued at 30,000 pounds, to be paid in installments after arriving in Kuwait and begin working.
He had performed medical analysis and completed travel related transactions that cost him about 7,000 pounds, bringing the sum paid by each of the 12 individuals to about 125,000 pounds. He expressed remorse and grief over costs incurred, which he only gained from the mirage, after the suspension of travel and expiry of the time of entry.
A source stated that dozens of complaints have been received from workers who fell victim to the monument after purchasing fake residences, revealing that the owner of the company owns another company in Asyut Governorate.
Private sources revealed a state of chaos in the residency dealers in Egypt, after the suspension of air traffic and stoppage of business. They stated “there are hundreds of Egyptian workers who bought free visas and underwent medical examination, but it became impossible for them to travel after the suspension of flights, which resulted in the expiration of entry visa; thus losing money amounting to 50,000 pounds.”