Kuwait allows migrant workers on leave to file visa renewal application onlineNearly 400 Nepalis on holiday at home wait to return to work.
The Kuwait government has decided to allow migrant workers, including hundreds of Nepalis, on leave to file their visa renewal applications online amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes as a respite for around 400 Nepali workers who could not return to their jobs in the Gulf state after their annual break due to travel restrictions enforced by both the countries.
According to the latest arrangement made by the Ministry of Interior of Kuwait, the employers of the migrant workers concerned can apply online to get their visa renewed even if they haven’t arrived in Kuwait after their holiday.
“This [the decision] is a big relief for Nepali workers who feared losing their jobs as they stay in Nepal waiting for restrictions to be lifted,” Suraj Maskey, a Nepali migrant worker told the Post from Kuwait City. “According to our estimate, at least 400 Nepalis are back home on leave at the moment.”
While Nepali workers already in the country say they are faced with reduced work hours, and reduced pay, those back home were anxious about getting to return to their jobs. The partial, but strict, curfew imposed by the Kuwaiti government has also affected normal life, and forced non-essential services to shut down.
With the decision to take visa renewal applications available online, the workers’ residency permit can be renewed even when the worker concerned is not in the country. Kuwaiti employers. on behalf of their employees, can submit the application and complete procedures online.
Likewise, workers who are still in Kuwait, but their visa expires soon, can also apply for a renewal of their visa using the same procedure. Online applications can be filed by both company workers (Visa-18) and domestic workers (Visa-20).
In the past, workers had to present themselves before immigration authorities to apply to renew their residency permits, according to Maskey.
“Nepali and Bangladeshi workers should also submit their biometric (finger print) while applying for renewal,” said Maskey, an IT professional who has been living in Kuwait for over three years.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of July 4, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 11,190,680 people with 529,113 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 649,889 with 18,669 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 221,896 confirmed cases with 4,551 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 15,419 cases with 34 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.