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DFA: Kuwait prohibits Filipinos without a “residence visa” from entering.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday that all Filipinos, excluding those having an “Iqama” or resident permission, are prohibited from entering Kuwait.

According to DFA Assistant Secretary Paul Cortes, who cited the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, the prohibition went into force on May 10 and applies to all Filipinos, even those with valid visas, who are traveling to the Gulf nation for the first time.

He stated in an interview with CNN Philippines that “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.”

“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 chose not to respond to local rumors that the suspension was due to suspected violations of Kuwait’s bilateral labor agreement by the Philippines, saying that Kuwait has not yet formally informed Manila of the reason for the suspension.

He said of the Arab country that Manila was dedicated to settling disputes with neighboring nations “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 remarked. “We’re confident that whatever issues we feel need to be discussed with Kuwait, we will be able to come to a mutually satisfactory solution.”

In order to clarify the scope of the prohibition, Cortes stated that the DFA is waiting for formal negotiations to begin with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

“Our ambassador there is coordinating and liaising with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make sure that nothing is lost in translation,” he said. Anong klaseng suspension of visa ba ito? Anong klaseng ban nga ba ito? Second, what are your limitations, and is your cap still in place? The third, bakit? (First, what form of ban will this be and what kind of visa stoppage is it? Second, who is covered and what are the limits? The third, why?) Therefore, everything will be worked out during our conversation with the MOFA.

In Kuwait, there are at least 290,000 Filipino residents.

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