KUWAIT: The residency affairs department retracted its verbal decision to stop transferring children's residencies to their mother in case the father leaves the country for good or dies, Al-Qabas reported yesterday quoting 'high ranking sources'.

The sources said new instructions were issued to directors of residency subdivisions in all six governorates to resume receiving children's residency transfer applications sponsored by their mothers, provided that they meet family visa conditions, most important of which is a salary of KD 500 and higher in the mother's work permit. They added that female teachers at the education ministry, female nurses at the health ministry and female doctors at the forensics department can sponsor their children regardless of the conditions.

Three decisions
Meanwhile, well-informed sources at the Public Authority for Manpower predicted that a potential decision banning the transfer of dependent visas into work visas will have some exemptions for citizens' spouses and children, holders of Palestinian passports and documents, expats born in Kuwait, those studying in Kuwaiti universities and others.

After issuing decision no. 367/2020 pertaining banning the transfer of workers from the government to the private sector and decision no. 520/2020 pertaining banning the issuance of work permits for expats aged 60 without university degrees from the beginning of 2021, expats are currently anticipating a decision banning the transfer of dependent visas (article 22) into work visas (article 18) as declared by Manpower Authority Director Abdullah Al-Motoutah a few days ago without mentioning the exact date of enforcement or any further details, Al-Jarida reported. This made expats worried about the fate of their children (holders of dependent visas who wish to seek private sector jobs in Kuwait).

Accordingly, many expats residing in Kuwait with their families believe that the three decisions will have extremely negative socioeconomic impacts on their lives and that many families would be torn apart, leaving only "bachelors" residing in Kuwait. Expats are also concerned about the fate of their children in various educational stages - from primary to university - who will not be able to return home. They also warned that the decisions would result in a lack of manpower in some professions, increases in wages and devastating effects on the real estate market.

Separately, Al-Anbaa reported quoting a source at the residency affairs department that the department did not receive any new instructions with regards to extending the ministerial decision that extended the validity of residency and visit visas until Aug 31, adding in case a decision is taken to extend them further, it will be done automatically without the need to go to the concerned authority.

When told that the airspace of many countries remains closed and those with expired visas and residencies will be in violation, the source said: "The residency affairs department is waiting for instructions, but if instructions are not received, then those with expired visas and residencies must leave the country, otherwise they will be in violation and a fine of KD 2 per day will be collected from them."

Stranded doctors
In the meantime, Al-Jarida quoted well-informed health sources who said the Ministry of Health (MoH) received over the past two weeks lists of expatriate doctors stranded outside Kuwait from various hospitals. The sources added that hospitals and health zones had sent the lists of doctors and all MoH medical and technical staff members stranded abroad to start working on facilitating their return to Kuwait so that various health facilities could operate at full capacity.

The sources stressed that hundreds of doctors and medical staff members will be returned soon to support the ministry's plan to resume work at various OPDs, evening clinics and operations with over 80 percent capacity. "The lists submitted to MoH include the medics' full names, civil ID numbers, specialties, workplaces, passport numbers, nationalities, countries of residence and residency validity," the sources elaborated, noting that all precautionary measures would be followed with returnees including swab tests and 14-day home quarantine prior to resuming work.

KD200 million
In other news, the health ministry asked the finance ministry to transfer an urgent payment of KD200 million so it can be sent to the Kuwait health office in Washington to avoid accumulation of demands and court cases by hospitals against the health office, Al-Anbaa reported. This came after the Cabinet asked the health ministry to coordinate with the finance ministry to study the demands of US hospitals and take the necessary steps to care for patients' health and safeguard Kuwait's reputation abroad.

Health sources said the health offices were suffering for some years because of the drop in the assigned sum of money for treatment abroad, down from the amount requested by the health ministry, and that the lack of payments is due to the lack of a budget to cover them. Nonpayment led some hospitals and health institutions to refrain from receiving Kuwaiti patients.

They said the allocated amount for treatment abroad is KD 170 million, and it is for patients who are still under treatment abroad. This amount cannot be used to cover dues, especially since 50 percent of this approved amount is used for patients' allocations, airline tickets, health insurance and medicines.