Kuwaiti residents have criticised reports that expatriates with infectious diseases will be automatically deported from the Gulf state in another decision viewed as anti-foreigner.
The Ministry of Health recently announced it would deport expats that contract infectious diseases in a bid to avoid spreading the virus.
It comes five months after Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Thekra Al Rasheedi revealed Kuwait would cut expat numbers by 100,000 each year over the next decade in order to reduce the total number from about 2.6m – two-thirds of the total population - to 1.6m.
Expatriates that commit repeat traffic offences also are being deported in a targeted crackdown.
However, on Thursday a local daily reported Minister of Health Sheikh Mohammad Al Abdullah Al Sabah said some infected expatriates would not be immediately deported but given up to 12 months to leave the country, depending on the seriousness of their condition.
Those with leprosy and HIV would be automatically deported.
“At first, when you have ... a communicable disease, you will not be allowed to enter Kuwait,” Al Sabah was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.
“If you are not a threat to the people around you, for example, TB you will be given at least one year on humanitarian grounds, since you have a family here and your children are studying.
"They’ll be given time to finish school before being sent out of the country.
“If in case the situation is quite serious, like hepatitis, they’ll be given six months and will be treated here before eventually being sent back.”
Al Sabah said Kuwait was working towards ensuring all expatriates had the necessary vaccines.
The minister ordered that children under the age of 15 be tested for an infectious disease before being issued a visa.
Other GCC countries also require expats to be tested for communicable diseases before being granted a working visa.