Minister of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman has submitted a letter to the Fatwa and Legislation Department of the Council of Ministers to seek its opinion on the legality of collecting the 500 dinars fee to renew the residence permit of non-graduate expatriates 60 years and above asking if it is possible to reconsider it.

The Minister has submitted three queries to ‘Fatwa’ — the extent of the legality of collecting 500 dinars fee for the renewal of a work permit for a non-graduate expatriate 60 years and above; the legality of excluding some categories from the decision, such as those born in the State of Kuwait or those with Palestinian nationality or documents.

The Al-Qabas daily has learned from sources the recent ruling of the High Court which has nullified the decision of the Public Authority for Manpower can be an appropriate legal way out for the issuance of the new “sixty” decision.

The sources expect the Fatwa and Legislation Department to end the controversy over the decision and come out with its opinion within the next two weeks, and accordingly the decision regarding the 60-year-olds would be issued, or it might see the need for this decision for a new law for it not be invalidated by the court, thus returning to square one and return to work with the old law.

Last week, the High Court had ruled to cancel the contested decision No. 27 of 2021 issued by the PAM Director-General by issuing a list of rules and procedures for granting work permits.

Moreover, informed sources hinted at the possibility of canceling the 500 dinars fee, which was decided by the PAM Board of Directors at the beginning of this month to issue a work permit to non-graduate sixty and above expatriates, saying raising the fee for an “existing” service is not permissible in this manner unless there is a new legislation to cover this increase.

The sources explained the “500 dinars” fee may violate Law No. 79 of 1995 regarding fees and financial costs in exchange for the use of public facilities and services, whose first article states that “it is not permissible, except by law, to increase fees and financial costs that must be paid in exchange for the use of public facilities and services provided by the state.

Article No. 2: The provisions of the previous article do not apply to the prices that are paid in exchange for services and goods provided by public bodies and public institutions with attached and independent budgets, nor do they apply to usufruct fees and fees established in accordance with international agreements.

It is noteworthy to mention there are 53,000 expatriates who fall under the “60 Resolution” category and if the “500 dinars” fee is applied annually to each work permit, the fees collected will reach only 26.5 million dinars.

The sources pointed out that the law on raising fees for government services that the executive authority is to submit to the National Assembly may solve this problem and enable the decision-issuing authority to raise the special fee for its services and transactions without the need for legislation from the National Assembly, which may mean that the “60 Resolution” is possible.

It shall continue to be suspended until it is resolved by Parliament. It is worth mentioning that there is a government desire to submit 18 draft laws to the National Assembly during the coming period, which are classified as a government priority, including the draft law on increasing fees for government services.

Legal sources asked if it is logical the 500 dinars fees voted on by the Manpower Board of Directors to renew the residence, in addition to health insurance, which will range between 500 to 700 dinars, while the maximum fine the government can collect from residence law violator is no more than 600 dinars.

A previous fatwa issued by the Fatwa and Legislation Department confirms that “it is established in jurisprudence that the fee is mostly paid for administrative services that are dominated by the public benefit, in addition to the private benefit that accrues to the payer of the fee, while the price is paid for goods and services that are dominated by the private benefit, which they provide.

On the other hand, the fee differs from the general price in that the fee is estimated on the basis of production costs or less than them, while the price is often taken into account to obtain more than the production costs.

Also, the fee differs from the general price in that the fee is paid forcibly , that is, by the unilateral will of the public authority, while the public price is paid voluntarily by the will of the purchaser of the commodity or service produced by the commercial or industrial project, and finally the fee is imposed by law or based on a law and the public authority is independent to determine it without interference from individuals, while the general price is imposed by an administrative decision issued by the authority that manages the project, and the price is determined according to the economic conditions prevailing in the market.”

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