Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs at Ministry of Interior Sheikh Mazen Al- Jarrah has announced the suspension of issuance of dependent visas for parents of expatriates in Kuwait, affirming that they will be granted only visit visas, reports Al-Rai daily. He explained that expatriates pay KD 50 to obtain dependent visas for their parents while the country spends almost KD 15,000 for their medical treatments, as per statistics issued by Ministry of Health.
Sheikh Al-Jarrah revealed about a proposal to impose fees for issuance of family and commercial visit visas, indicating that these fees will be similar to the fees imposed in other GCC countries. He further revealed that some companies and citizens bring expatriates into the country on free visit visas and then charge for employing them, stressing that the country is exerting tremendous efforts to pursue the violators of residency law.
Sheikh Al-Jarrah clarified that the visit visas will be free for three months in a year after which fees will be imposed for any further visits, as the current law on visit visa can be easily manipulated. Regarding increasing the fees for residence permits, he affirmed that the ministry will tackle the issue after organizing the regulations governing issuance of visit and dependent visas.
However, he agreed that the fees for residence permits have not been changed for almost 50 years, clarifying that the fees for the residence permits of housemaids for Kuwaiti citizens will not be changed. When asked about the objections raised by some embassies and lawmakers regarding the fines imposed on expatriates who have not informed immigration departments about the updated data of their passports, Sheikh Al-Jarrah said, “This is the country’s sovereignty right.
Kuwait understands when other countries apply their laws on Kuwaiti citizens.” “Unfortunately, our society has become a shelter for violators of law because of the leniency with which we deal with people. However, Kuwait is a country of institutions and law. We welcome those who respect our laws but those who are not interested in doing so can leave the country. The law will be applied on all without any bias”, he added. He affirmed that Kuwaiti citizens comply with the laws of other country when they travel overseas, adding, “Expatriates, who are guests in the country, have to respect Kuwait’s laws”.
Meanwhile, Head of Expatriate Personnel Office in Kuwait Labor Union Federation Abdulrahman Al-Ghanim says the money collected by Ministry of Interior from expatriates who violate the law related to linking validity of their residence permits with that of their passports will increase the state treasury but Kuwait will be regarded as “a company where profits are made from the sweat of the poor”, reports Al-Seyassah daily. He stressed that the Kuwaiti government is trying to compensate the decline in the oil prices at the expense of the oppressed expatriate personnel in the country. Al-Ghanim affirmed that such malpractices will blacklist Kuwait alongside countries that violate the rights of laborers, insisting that the Ministry of Interior has to be held responsible for negligence instead of “sucking the blood of expatriates by charging such fines”.
He added, “How would the breadwinner of a family pay fines ranging between KD 600 to KD 3,000 for his family members?” He stressed that such decisions of imposing fines and additional fees on expatriates reflect the randomness in the decision-making process followed in Kuwait, urging Ministry of Interior to refrain from collecting such fines as it will lead to dangerous negative consequences.
However, he indicated that these decisions can be considered as good only if the country grants grace period to the affected expatriates so that they can modify their status before they are forced to pay such fees. Al-Ghanim said Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh has also joined the team by indicating through her statements about the possibility of imposing new fees of KD 100 on expatriates for renewal and transfer of residence permits.