KUWAIT: The interior ministry has received instructions from the Cabinet to wait for a new plan to grant residencies in Kuwait. The Public Authority of Manpower has also received instructions on the conditions to grant work permits and who can renew them and who cannot. This comes after visit visa issuance was halted until new mechanisms are in place to decide who has the right to get them.
Official sources said the number of residency violators has increased more than that during the coronavirus pandemic, to over 120,000 residents, which is a massive number and constitutes a danger to domestic security. They said instructions given to the interior ministry include “rationalizing” visit visas to a minimum after the start of reissuing them, and limiting them to expats with certain jobs with high salaries. According to the instructions, only those whose salary is KD 600 or higher can bring in a parent, but that will rise to double the figure as new developments occur.
Sources said visit visas have become a business for some and are dealt with commercially on social media, which reflects a defect, and calls for a pause and review of granting of residencies and work permits. They said in a few months, the Cabinet will issue, through an agreed-upon system between the interior ministry and PAM, conditions for coming to Kuwait for work, and banning the transfer of visit visas to work permits of any type, in addition to doubling punishments for visitors who do not leave on time.
Punishments will also be doubled for those who employ visitors living in Kuwait, because it was found that many expat visitors come to work in any job only to make money, and this is what keeps them in the country after their visit period expires. It will also be decided that the duration of a visit visa will be only one month and will not be renewed.
The sources said conditions for allowing residency in Kuwait will be toughened through increasing residency fees, with the possibility of imposing annual fees on each resident in exchange for state services. Every employer will have to pay new fees for bringing in an expat from abroad in order to reduce the number of expat workers in the private sector and end iqama trade, in addition to preventing any employer from having employees more than needed, because the more employees they have, the more fees they will have to pay, closing a loophole that was exploited for iqama trading.
The sources said imposing health insurance on every expat has become a serious government thought which will be implemented after legal, administrative and technical aspects are reviewed, so that every expat in Kuwait must obtain health insurance like those who are 60 years or older without a university degree, and this will be a prerequisite to granting residency and work permits.
The sources said a decision to ban work permits for citizens of countries with large communities in Kuwait will be seriously discussed, so only technical and qualified labor can be brought in from these countries. They said the new residency law will be supervised directly by the Cabinet, as each department must take the approval of the Cabinet first and it will not be up to their directors to decide who will be authorized to enter and work in the country.