With just a week left for the expiry of an amnesty scheme in Kuwait for illegal expatriates to regularize their status, over 3,400 Indians have put in their applications.
"Over 3,400 Indians have applied for emergency outpasses till now," Dinesh Bhatia, charge d'affaires in the Indian embassy in Kuwait, told IANS over telephone on Wednesday.
"We are processing the same and will get to arrive at the final figure in consultation with Kuwaiti authorities after the scheme gets over," he added.
The amnesty scheme, which was launched September 1 by Kuwait's ruler Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, expires on October 15.
Under the scheme, immigration departments across that Gulf city-state would assist all individuals to either adjust their illegal residency status or help them leave the country.
Those who have no travel documents would be allowed to leave the country within the specified period mentioned in the new law.
Expatriates willing to return to their respective countries after deportation must follow the official channels and procedures.
There are around 550,000 expatriate Indians in Kuwait.
According to reports, around 20,000 illegal expatriates have left the Gulf nation taking advantage of the scheme.
Arabic daily Al-Anba reported that Kuwaiti authorities expect the number to touch 40,000 by the time the deadline expires.
The authorities ruled out the possibility of the amnesty period being extended.
The country's interior ministry has warned that strict action would be taken against illegal residents once the amnesty gets over.
Khalid Al-Kandari, assistant chief of technical affairs at the ministry's immigration authority, said that illegal residents caught in the country would be deported and not allowed back.
Employers and sponsors of such illegal residents will also face stern measures such as total suspension of all their transactions.
Residency permits of expatriates sponsoring such illegal residents will also be suspended, Al-Kandari warned.
The current amnesty scheme has been launched 14 months after the last one.