Recently Kuwait was voted one of the worst places for expats to live in by an international survey. Now I have no idea how accurate these surveys or international firms are, and what is their agenda but unfortunately it seems to be a repetitive topic. Although it is painful to see such statics, I think it is important for us to address the issues in order for Kuwait to improve as a country. Many of my readers think that we have received such a low rating because of the recent actions and laws that may seem like they are against expats. I personally think that Kuwaiti laws and regulations have for the most part been fair to all parties and up to international standards. Yet some bylaws are not stable and constantly changing or maybe simply not clear to non-speaking expats that live in Kuwait.
Another issue that I think are important to address is the lack of ease of doing some governmental procedures. I hope this particular topic is addressed in the new future, as we have seen already Kuwait has improved immensely in the last year, and I hope the improvement is replicated in all sectors in Kuwait. It is fair to mention as well, as I have previously mentioned on multiple occasions, the importance of a diverse workforce in Kuwait, and how foreign people or non-nationals have a positive impact on our society and should be integrated fully.
Q: Where do I go if I need to find information about a governmental procedure?
A: A great place to start, that is extremely useful is the Kuwait Government webpage https://www.e.gov.kw/sites/kgoEnglish/Pages/HomePage.aspx that is available in English and there is also a hotline at 164 that you can try calling. There is a directory on there as well with links for many procedures that you can do online. For example, you will find the different types of visas and the documents required, fees etc (a topic that many of my readers ask about). The webpage for the most part is user friendly and functional, so please do not hesitate to give it a try!
Q: Although Kuwait has been great to us, do you have any advice how do I protect myself and what should I be aware of?
A: Always get someone you trust to translate any official documents for you in Arabic before signing. It might seem obvious but do not sign anything in a language you cannot understand, unless the translation is alongside or on the same page that you are signing as well, and the English clearly says that there is an Arabic version.
Kuwait is for the most part very safe and family friendly, but it important that you be aware of local laws, regulations, traditions, and important numbers/places. I hope the above has been helpful and I am very proud for all the change that has happened in the recent year.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed