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Kuwait to grant second amnesty to visa violators; 15-year residency cap planned

29 June 2020

Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Anas Al Saleh in an effort to eradicate illicit trade over residency permits and to punish violators of residence law in Kuwait, the second of a three-phase amnesty measure will be launched when the country returns to normalcy after the coronavirus pandemic.

The initial amnesty outreach in Kuwait ended on 30th April, and this has been availed by 26,400 expatriates who did not have valid residency permits. The initiative was open from 1st to 30th April, and was offered to residency violators for leaving the country without paying fine, and they were given a chance to return to Kuwait later with the right documents.

Kuwait also arranged for special outbound flights for return of people who had applied for amnesty.

According to news reports, the total number of violators is more than 90,000. Majority of them are likely to take advantage of the amnesty measure and leave the country, particularly given the fact that several of them do not have jobs and are bearing the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to sources, the third and final phase of the plan will begin immediately once the second phase is complete. It includes an accurate survey of the numbers and nationalities of remaining violators, and finding their whereabouts and organizing an extensive security campaign to pursue them.

The Interior Minister has asked the concerned authorities to submit lists of violating workers and pursue them through their sponsors and arrest those who do not surrender.

This phase will shortly this year, and is likely to remove more than 50 percent of the violators. Towards the end of three-phase plan, the transfer of employee from one company to another will also be strictly prohibited and the violator will have to leave the country.

Kuwait has recently brought about several measures to address the demographic imbalance in Kuwait. Some of these include establishing 25 percent population quota for foreigners, 15-year cap on their living and working in the country, denying residency visas for those over 60years, and other changes in the residency law such as imposing additional fee for renewing visas and increased fee for various government services and transactions.

At present 3.3 million expats live in Kuwait, constituting 70 percent of total population of 4.7 million.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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