In the past few weeks, the regulations in the expatriate residency law have undergone a fundamental review, covering most of its articles, with the aim of putting an end to the phenomenon of visa trading and permanently closing that chapter.
According to informed sources, the relevant report will be presented first to the Cabinet for deliberation and approval and then referred to the National Assembly as a matter of urgency. A team was formed for this purpose by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh with representatives of the Fatwa and Legislation Department, Legal Affairs Department of Ministry of Interior, Civil Service Commission, Kuwaiti legalists from Kuwait University and delegates from health insurance companies.
This team has already finished putting the final touches to the new law that regulates the residency of expatriates in Kuwait.
The sources clarified that the amendments include increasing the penalties against employers in the private sector in the event of the arrest of marginal workers or residency law violators registered under their file.
This includes blacklisting their company, or rather labor file, for a period of two years and subjecting the employers/sponsors to investigation. In addition, the new law would obligate the sponsors to pay the cost of the travel ticket for their employees who are in violation, as well as the cost of their shelter and food.
The new law also increases the daily fine for residency violation to KD 20, but not exceeding KD 500.
The relevant expatriate, after he/she is deported, will be prohibited from entering the country for a period of three years. According to the provisions of the proposed law, residency will not be granted to any expatriate except in the physical presence of the employer, and unless comprehensive health insurance covering treatment and medication costs in hospitals is attained.
Also, driving licenses will not be issued to expatriates except for those in the professions of drivers and “mandoubs”, provided the salary is higher than KD 500 and with payment of issuance fees that will exceed KD 200, and the license validity will be linked to the period of residency determined by the new law.
The amendments include granting wider powers to the public security officers as well as the officers from the departments of Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Residency Affairs in order to take administrative decisions to deport expatriates for breaking the law. Another amendment related to non- Kuwaiti wives of Kuwaiti men stipulates that they have to stay in marriage for 18 years in order to be naturalized, and this includes their children.
Minister of Interior has the right to withdraw the citizenship of a naturalized Kuwaiti woman in the event of divorce without having at least one child. In this case, a temporary one-year residency will be granted for her to leave the country, and that residency cannot be extended unless she remarries.
Also, the sources indicated that the amendments to be announced also constitute cancellation of the sponsorship system and agreeing on the establishment of a government agency to provide manpower for the private sector at a certain fee which is yet to be determined, as well as linking the residency with the bank account to which the employee’s salary is deposited on a monthly basis.