KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry has instructed the residency affairs department not to allow any residents to sponsor any of their relatives who had come to Kuwait on visit visas after the COVID-19 outbreak, Al-Rai reported yesterday quoting informed sources. The ministry's instructions ban transferring all visit visas to residency visas for expatriates who entered Kuwait since the beginning of the year, said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The sources added that all visas have been extended until the end of August, but visit visas will not be transferred to residency visas except upon exemption from the minister himself and only for very special humanitarian cases. Further, the sources explained that expats holding dependent visas issued earlier will still be able to renew them, and that the new decision will only apply to those wishing to transfer visit visas into residency visas, especially since radical amendments will be made to a new residency law to be issued soon. The Interior Ministry has suspended issuing new visas until further notice, while it is expected to introduce changes to the current visa regulations before reopening the door to receive new visa applications.

Separately, Al-Qabas quoted informed sources who said that the Cabinet decided to keep in place the entry ban on passengers from 31 countries into Kuwait until further notice. The daily said health authorities recommended that the ban continues as per local and international health indicators, as the coronavirus pandemic is still spreading in the said countries.

Upon resuming commercial flights on August 1, Kuwait had announced that flights to and from the following countries are suspended until further notice: Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, Northern Macedonia, Panama, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka and Syria.

Age limit
In the meantime, a well-informed educational source told Al-Rai that for the first time in the history of the education ministry's advertisements of its need to hire teachers of certain subjects, the ministry has removed age restriction limits that used to be 40-45 years. The ministry is scrambling to fill vacancies among public school teaching staffs by hiring teachers from inside Kuwait as recruiting expatriate teachers from abroad, a practice the ministry conducts annually, is currently suspended.

The source also pointed out that the ministry's administrative sector had started receiving online applications from teachers of understaffed subjects, including chemistry teachers who had been terminated two years ago to be replaced by Kuwaitis. However, the source strongly denied accepting applications from teachers terminated as part of the replacement policy followed in various ministries, no matter how severe the shortage is.