By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Public Manpower Authority said yesterday it will stop issuing work permits for expats aged 60 years and above and who do not hold a university degree from Jan 1, 2021, while the interior ministry is not likely to extend the validity of residencies and visas beyond Aug 31. The decision is expected to impact tens of thousands of expats who work in the private sector and who must obtain work permits to be able to renew their residencies in the country.

The move appears to be part of the government's plan to force some 360,000 expats to leave the country in the short term. The plan projects that 150,000 of them will be expats above 60. The decision applies to expats who hold a higher secondary certificate or lower, according to the Public Manpower Authority.

The interior ministry had allowed expats inside and outside the country to renew their residencies online and also stay outside the country for as long as 12 months instead of the usual six months without getting their residencies cancelled. This facility is due to expire on Aug 31, and according to local media, the interior ministry is unlikely to extend the service.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly's financial and economic affairs committee yesterday rejected a government-sponsored draft law seeking to allow the government to borrow up to KD 20 billion to meet a growing budget deficit due to the sharp drop in oil revenues. Head of the panel MP Safa Al-Hashem said the committee was not convinced by the government's reasons to borrow, adding the government team failed to present a clear program of reforms.

She said the government could not convince where and how the money will be spent over the next 10 years. But Hashem said the committee approved another law stipulating to stop the 10 percent deduction in favor of the future generations fund in case there is a deficit in the budget. According to a law, 10 percent of revenues must be deducted every year in favor of the future generations fund regardless if the budget is in surplus or shortfall. The law aims at reducing the budget deficit.