KUWAIT: People are seen inside the Kuwait International Airport terminal yesterday.

KUWAIT: Interior ministry officials are expected to hold meetings this week to discuss the mechanism of implementing the Cabinet’s decision to reopen visas for foreigners to enter Kuwait. While reopening visas was supposed to take effect on October 24, it will likely be delayed for one or two weeks until the interior ministry can agree on the proper mechanism to resume visa issuing, according to multiple reports.

The Cabinet’s decisions to restore normal life in Kuwait had gone into effect from yesterday, but the decisions related to issuing visas and full operations at Kuwait International Airport need one or two weeks for actual implementation, Al-Rai Arabic daily reported yesterday, quoting sources.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said it was ready for full airport operation on a gradual basis as per an organized plan, through coordination with concerned authorities working at the airport, ground services and airlines as well as communicating with various airports in this regard. Deputy Director General for Airport Affairs Saleh Al-Fadaghi said that airport operation traffic will be as is this week as the DGCA waits for the monthly operating schedules from airlines starting November. The number of flights and new destinations are expected to increase then, he added.

Meanwhile, security sources said the decision to resume the issuance of entry visas for vaccinated individuals requires several steps which could come into effect “within days” or by the beginning of November at the earliest, adding that “there will be a meeting for senior leadership of the ministry to decide the decision’s implementation mechanism in coordination with Public Authority for Manpower.” The sources said that following the success of Interior Ministry in moving to digital processing of transactions during the COVID-19 crisis, it wants to continue doing the same and issue new visas online.

60+ visas
In the meantime, the Public Authority for Manpower is expected to hold a meeting this week chaired by Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr Abdullah Al-Salman to finalize the issue pertaining to suspension of visas of residents aged 60 and older who do not have a university degree. An official decision to cancel the suspension is expected to be announced following the meeting, Al-Rai reported yesterday.

“The Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Manpower will hold a meeting on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Commerce and Industry Minister Dr Abdallah Al-Salman to make a decision regarding the suspension of visas of residents aged 60 years and above,” said sources quoted in the report.

It is expected that the board will cancel the decision to ban issuing work permits for residents who reach 60 years of age and who have high school and below academic qualification – a decision that was overruled by the Fatwa and Legislation Department, said the sources.

Furthermore, the sources indicated that there is some agreement among the authority’s board members to cancel the decision during Wednesday’s expected meeting, and instruct concerned authorities to start issuing permits for this group of people as the case was before the decision. On the other hand, the sources noted that the board members still mull a proposal to impose a renewal fee of KD 250 and private health insurance.