The Kuwait authorities are reviewing the procedures for visa approval for thousands of Bangladeshis between 2014 and 2018 following suspension of an interior ministry official over allegations of bribery involving Bangladeshi lawmaker Shahid Islam Papul.
Maj Gen Mazen Al-Jarrah, assistant undersecretary at Kuwait interior ministry, was suspended on June 30 for allegedly accepting bribes and making financial transactions linked to Shahid's company.
Shahid, a lawmaker from Laxmipur-2 constituency, was arrested in Kuwait on June 6 and sent to jail.
During interrogation, he admitted paying millions of dollars in bribes to some lawmakers and Kuwaiti officials for securing visas and job contracts for his company, Marafie Kuwaitia Group. He is the managing director and chief executive officer of the firm.
Over the last several years, he recruited some 20,000 foreign workers, mostly Bangladeshis, and charged them Tk 7 to 9 lakh each. But many of the workers were not given jobs as per the contracts and even had to pay for renewal of work permits.
Seeking anonymity, a Bangladeshi businessman, familiar with recruitment issues in Kuwait, said the latest move may result in deportation of several thousand Bangladeshis.
On Monday, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas reported that all the documents related to Bangladeshi workers, which were signed by Al-Jarrah during his tenure in the citizenship and passports sector between 2014 and 2018, were withdrawn from the residence departments in the six governorates and the Department of Special Services.
The purpose of withdrawal is to review those to find out the number of Bangladeshis allowed by the official to enter the country during his tenure. He had approved thousands of visas, especially those related to Shahid's company, it mentioned quoting sources.
One of the sources also said the Public Prosecution decided to continue the detention of Al-Jarrah and detain a new suspect working as a director of a travel agency.