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‘Expats frustrated, lives affected’ Majority wants visa ban on some countries lifted

In last week’s online poll, the Arab Times asked voters if the ban on visas for certain nationalities should be lifted. An overwhelming majority of voters voted in favor of lifting the ban as it would give everyone a chance to live with their families.

About 42 % of the voters went for lifting the ban. The ban has been a source of diplomatic discomfort between Kuwait and the countries in question. The topic is raised whenever a leader from the one of the banned countries visits Kuwait, and gets glossed over with vague promises of resolution and open-ended deadlines.

However, for the affected expatriates, the ban has been very frustrating. “We are unable to bring our families over, and it’s affecting our personal lives.” Respondents said that if the object of the ban is to curb criminality, keeping the ban on would encourage criminal behavior in other ways.” They were alluding to sexual crimes.

About 16 % of the voters expressed similar sentiments but with a twinge of caution. They say that the ban should be lifted, however with a few restrictions. Talking to the Arab Times, respondents supporting this view explained that restrictions could be by way of greater scrutiny of criminal records and credentials of the visitor. “This would make getting a visa difficult, but would keep hopes alive.” Respondents also shared their experiences of trying to apply for visas to Europe and the US. The whetting process is very stringent, and it’s hard to get a visa. “However, if you make sure that all your records are in place and fulfill all eligibility criteria, then you can get a visa. This way the traffic of visitors from certain countries can be controlled, but not fully stopped.”

Aslightly higher number, 17%, of voters favored a flat ban. Their argument is that a ban would effectively cut crime rate in the country. 10 % of the voters felt that bans could be lifted for certain categories of workers, like the skilled workers. But many respondents begged to differ stating that it would be tantamount to discrimination against unskilled laborers. Some voters supported an extreme view, saying that the ban should be expanded to include more countries.

Although 7 % of the voters held this view, not many among the respondents backed them. The few who supported the view stated that Kuwait’s population has reached the threshold and it would be a bad idea to let in more people. They were mainly concerned about the country’s health sector, which is already strained by the volume of patients.

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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