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DFA: Kuwait bars entry of Filipinos without ‘residence visa’

MANILA – The Kuwaiti government has imposed an entry ban on Filipinos, except those with “Iqama” or residence permit, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Thursday.

Citing the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, DFA Assistant Secretary Paul Cortes said the ban took effect on May 10 and covers Filipinos, even those issued with visas, who are entering the Gulf state for the first time.

“According to our Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, all those new entry visas in Kuwait from the Philippines are not allowed to enter pero those na may residence visa or what you call Iqama are allowed naman to enter (but those with residence visa or what you call Iqama are allowed to enter),” he said in a CNN Philippines interview.

“The way it is written sa Kuwait Civil Aviation, it says all visas, so it may be tourist, it may be student, it may be business basta bagong entry hindi papayagang pumasok pero ‘yong mga dati nang nandoon, which means mayroon silang residence ID card puwede silang pumasok (so long as they are entering Kuwait for the first time, they will not be allowed entry but those who have their residence IDs may do so).”

Cortes declined to react to local reports that the decision was based on the Philippines’ alleged non-compliance with its bilateral labor agreement with Kuwait, noting the latter has yet to officially inform Manila of the reason behind the suspension.

Referring to the Arab state, he said Manila is committed to resolving issues with other countries “in an amicable manner.”

“In the case of Kuwait, hindi natin maikakaila (we cannot deny) that there are very, very friendly relations plus ‘yong very strong people-to-people links natin,” he said. “We’re confident that we will be able to find a mutually satisfactory solution to whatever issues we feel need to be discussed with Kuwait.”

Cortes said the DFA is waiting for official talks to start with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to discuss the coverage of the ban.

“Our ambassador there is liaising and coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make sure that nothing is lost in translation,” he said. “One, anong klaseng ban nga ba ito, anong klaseng cessation of visa ba ito? Number two, anong limits nito, sino sino ba ang sakop nito? Number three, bakit? (One, what kind of ban will this be, what type of cessation of visa is it? Number two, what are its limits and who are those covered? Number three, why?) So, all that will be threshed out with our discussion with the MOFA.”

At least 290,000 Filipinos live and work in Kuwait. — Joyce Ann L. Rocamora  (PNA)

Credit belongs to: www.pna.gov.ph

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