KUWAIT: The total number of residents who lost their Kuwait residency visas because they failed to renew them online while out of the country has increased to around 75,000, security sources told Al-Rai daily, blaming the residents themselves or their sponsors for losing their visas as they had not seized the opportunity when the interior ministry opened online renewals.

Responding to a question about families holding dependent visas sponsored by residents whose visas have been cancelled, the sources said authorities are waiting for a decision to resume visa issuance and flights to find suitable solutions for their problems by studying each case individually.

In a related development, informed sources told Al-Qabas daily that the manpower authority has started implementing verbal instructions to renew work permits for expats aged 60 who do not hold university degrees for only one year, during which they must start preparing to leave the country, as they will not be able to renew their residencies the following year.

The sources added that various labor departments have started implementing the new instructions, and expats in this category who managed to renew their residency visas for a year will not be able to renew them any further, unless the current instructions are annulled. "This will help resolve the demographic imbalance problem, Kuwaitize administrative and supervisory jobs in the private sector and enable the manpower authority to control marginal laborers in the country," the sources highlighted.

Recent statistics revealed that the total number of expats aged 60 without a university degree in the private sector is 83,562 including 15,847 who are illiterate, 24,000 who can only read and write, 10,000 with a primary education, 16,000 who have middle school education and 16,000 with high school education.

Meanwhile, well-informed sources told Al-Jarida daily that the residency bill approved by the Cabinet and submitted to HH the Deputy Amir pending referral to the parliament will give expats five years of continuous residency in Kuwait, while investors and real estate owners will be allowed 10 continuous years of residency.

The sources added that the bill will be effective upon approval by the parliament. Kuwaiti women, who were not originally granted citizenship by marriage to Kuwaitis, will be able to grant their non-Kuwaiti husbands and children residency, provided none of them works for a government body. The new bill also allows domestic helpers to stay out of the country for only four months instead of the current six months.

As for expat parents' residencies, the sources said the residency affairs directorate has so far not issued any decisions on suspending the renewal of article 22 residency visas (dependent visas), and therefore they can still be renewed until further notice.

The sources said the manpower authority will start rejecting work permit applications of marginal laborers and those older than 60, as they can get residency visas based on those work permits. "Article 22 residency visas can still be transferred online to article 18 visas upon the director's approval", the sources added. - Al-Rai, Al-Qabas and Al-Jarida