Director General of Residency Affairs Department at the Interior Ministry Major General Talal Maarafi spoke about many decisions, some to become effective today. He said this will lead to achieving more control and secure the country against violators. He said the department will be stricter in collecting fines and transfer them to the state treasury. He said the increase of fees for expat residencies is considered a correction of a situation that lasted 50 years and an income source as part of the state’s procedures to deal with the general budget deficit.
Maarafi said linking the passport’s validity with residency for expats which will become effective today will coincide with three steps – the entry of the expat into the country with residency visa or family visa provided the passport is valid for two years, and entry with a visit visa with a passport that is valid for at least six months. No visa will be issued to dependents unless they have their own separate passports.
Maarafi spoke about steps that go along with linking an expat’s residency with the validity of his passport, most important of which is that the wife’s and children’s residencies’ validity should not exceed that of the sponsor, and creating a committee to confront obstacles that may surface during the implementation of this decision.
Maarafi denied that there would be a grace period for departure, or a grace period for violators to stay or get a pardon. He said grace periods are ineffective and not feasible and involve squandering of funds, and help a violator not to act and increase the number of violators. He said a grace period is considered a reward for violators by not paying fines, allowing him to leave and return.
Maarafi said dependent residencies were linked with that of the sponsor because violations were found, as when an expat husband, who has a one-year residency, gets deported, but his wife and children remain because their residencies may extend to five years, apart from divorce cases, as when an expat divorces his wife, the woman and children remain under his sponsorship because they have a five-year residency though he has two.
Maarafi said there will be no residency permits for those who enter the country with a visit visa, and it is better for them to pay a fine and leave with an option to return, instead of being arrested, fingerprinted and deported for good. Also, there will be no residency permit for one whose residency expires until he pays the fines regardless of the period, provided that there are no security restrictions that prevent granting him residency.
Maarafi asked embassies and diplomatic missions in the country to renew passports of their citizens with the condition that passport validity should be 12 months and above, adding that there is coordination with the Manpower Public Authority (MPA) not to issue any work permit for less than a year, and said such steps will be in use during this week.
He said that a team was formed to go along with the implementation of the decision and study its negatives, and gave examples of delays the expat has nothing to do with, such as delays in medical tests or fingerprinting or a lengthy holiday. “We began a project of automated linkage with the health ministry to issue health insurance to prevent manipulation, which is an important step to protect public funds,” he said.
Maarafi said cases were discovered over the sale of domestic help visas using citizens’ civil IDs in cooperation with domestic help officers for amounts of KD 650 for those in Kuwait and KD 1,400 for those abroad, as some had 30 visas of domestic helpers on their files. Maarafi lauded security campaigns to arrest visa violators which were lately led by Interior Ministry Undersecretary Major General Suleiman Al-Fahd to arrest violators, adding that such campaigns complete our job and are very successful and proved fruitful, as large numbers of violators came forward to adjust their situation after paying fines.
Maarafi called upon members of parliament to support the efforts of the Interior Ministry, particularly laws concerning expat residencies, which we submitted to the interior minister who approved it and sent it to the National Assembly, most notably the increase of residency fees, as well as the direct citation of those who harbor violators and increasing the fines on residency fees.