In line with the government’s decision to reduce the number of expatriates and realign the demographic imbalance in the country, the General Department of Residence Affairs at the Ministry of Interior has reportedly issued several amendments regarding visa eligibility for foreigners.

In addition to the recently introduced clause, which stipulates that only those earning KD500 or higher per month could sponsor their families, new conditions being implemented include that only children below the age of 12 could be sponsored as a dependent child, and that family visas would not be issued to people from seven specific countries.

Other clauses aimed at discouraging expatriates from living in the country include, male children who are 18 years and above and are living in Kuwait will not have their residency permit renewed, unless they can prove they are enrolled in one of the local universities.

A number of professions are exempt from the minimum salary requirement, including consultants, jurists, prosecutors, experts, legal researchers in the government sector, doctors, lecturers in higher education institutions, school principals and assistants, education guides and teachers, social counselors, laboratory technicians, economic and finance advisors, engineers, imams, muezzins and those who teach the Holy Quran, librarians, nursing staff, paramedics, medical technicians with various specializations, journalists and press correspondents, coaches and players in sport clubs, pilots and service crew, and undertakers.

The new residency rules are meant to dissuade specific categories of people and nationalities from living in Kuwait with their families. Though the seven countries that were banned from bringing in families, and the category of workers who could not apply for family visas, were not specified, human rights organizations would probably call these measure a clear case of racial profiling and blatant discrimination. But then, what is new?

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