KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s interior and defense committee yesterday rejected a string of proposals targeting expatriates, including calls to sharply raise fees on driving licenses and stop the issuance of dependent visas. The committee unanimously rejected a proposal submitted last month calling to raise charges for obtaining a new driving license for expatriates from the current KD 20 – for all – to as much as KD 1,000. The proposal also called for raising the renewal fees of the license from just KD 1 to KD 500 annually, and to raise expats’ vehicle registration fees to KD 500 annually from the current KD 5.
The committee said that although the intent of the proposal is to help resolve the traffic problem in the country, the proposed fees are too steep and will overburden expatriates, many of whom receive low salaries, and it will be extremely difficult for them to pay the increased charges. The committee also rejected another proposal calling to ban expatriates from obtaining family dependent visas except for their parents and to double the fees for the recruitment of expatriates, in addition to limiting the stay duration of expatriates in the country to just 10 years.
The panel said that although the proposal will help in rectifying the imbalanced demographic structure, it will add a huge financial burden on expatriates. It said limiting the stay of expats to 10 years will create shortages in certain jobs in the local market. The committee however approved a third proposal calling on the government to force contractors of government projects to ensure the departure of their manpower after the completion of the project.
In a related development, the Assembly’s human rights defense committee approved a proposal calling on the government not to pay contractors any money before they submit evidence that they have paid their employees. Head of the committee MP Adel Al-Damkhi said the proposal aims to end strikes by workers who complain of not being paid.
By B Izzak