New curbs, higher fees, fines eyed to cut expat numbers

Fines for iqama violators to double to KD 4 per day to a maximum of KD 1,000

KUWAIT: The supreme committee on dealing with the population structure imbalance has recommended several measures to achieve a higher growth rate of Kuwaitis, according to reports in local dailies. It called to restrict bringing in domestic helpers by imposing higher fees, reduce the number of visas issued per person per year from five to three, and toughen the punishment of residency law violators by imposing a fine of KD 4 per day to a maximum of KD 1,000.

The committee announced other steps, procedures and executive mechanisms to limit the increase in expats, who outnumber citizens three to one. Security measures resulted in deporting 1,238 roaming vendors and suspending 1,529 files through intensified campaigns and inspection of residency and labor law violators.

A memo issued by the social affairs ministry and sent to the National Assembly said the supreme committee told the interior ministry and the manpower authority to not approve the transfer of a woman’s residency permit in case of divorce to work in the private sector, and ensure workers on temporary government contracts leave the country as soon as the contract period is over.

The memo demanded that no family residency permit be given to children living in the country unless the father has a valid residency permit, while a mother cannot sponsor her children, except those with specialized skills needed in the country. The memo also calls for not allowing the reentry of drivers, mandoubs or those with article 20 residencies – who left the country or whose residencies were revoked due to being out of the country for over six months – before two years have elapsed, unless it is for the same sponsor.

The memo said domestic helpers at embassies will be allowed to leave, and it was coordinated with the interior ministry to give the domestic help department of the interior ministry the authority to arrest violators who carry article 20 residencies and work in bogus domestic help offices.

Meanwhile, informed sources at the Civil Service Commission said the reduction in the number of expats working in ministries and government departments will not happen suddenly. Ministerial sources said the Cabinet has given a green light to concerned authorities to reduce the number of expats in the public sector based on a recommendation by the supreme committee. The sources appreciated the efforts of the committee headed by Social Affairs and Labor Minister Hind Al-Sabeeh.

Sources said committee has taken effective measures to adjust the population structure without affecting the marketplace and requirements of development projects, as well as private sector needs. The sources added the manpower authority has written to government authorities to reduce the number of expats in ministries by 25 percent in the fields of security and cleaning.

This article was published on 19/11/2017