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Mixed reaction to increase in family and visit visas fee ‘With wasta you can do anything’

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 3: Respondents to this week’s Arab Times Online poll, weighed in on the ramifications of the proposed increase in Salary cap for Family Visa from KD 250 to KD 400 and increase in Visit visa prices to KD 100, with the majority 25% of voters, deeming that in Kuwait, ‘With Wasta, you can do anything.’

“Wasta is the real currency of this country. The only way this proposal will change the ground reality if it is approved, is that it will increase corruption”, a respondent exclaimed.

19% of voters felt that this would adversely affect tourism and Kuwait will be perceived as an unfriendly country. “It’s quite laughable that Kuwait would expect people to pay KD 100 for a visit visa. It is outrageous by international standards. If you compare Kuwait’s approximately $350 proposed fee to UAE’s $57, you really wonder what the lawmakers are thinking. Even the United States charges about $160 for a non-immigrant visit visa”, a reader commented.

“A KD 100 visa fee to visit Kuwait is not value for money. There aren’t many exciting places to visit. Even the Kuwait towers has been shut for such a long time. I think, more than anything, it would affirm the government’s disinterest in promoting tourism”, a respondent shared.

 “Instead of having family members from their home countries come visit, people will just prefer to go back home”, another pointer out. 20% of voters felt that the increase would affect expat families negatively. “I think it is very unfair to low income workers as timely increments and raises are very rare. Also, if someone who earns less than KD 400 is able to manage his finances and support a family, why should he be forced to send them back?”

On the contrary, 16% believed this was a good decision as it is no longer possible to support a family on a less than KD 250 salary. “House rents have escalated, school fees have increased, everything is more expensive while salaries stay the same”, a reader pointed out.

4% agreed that this move would help keep the unskilled workforce and residency violators in check, “A lot of expats bring in family members on a visit visa and once they are here, they look for jobs or even buy a visa. I think the increase in price will help fight this”.

Another reader was of the opinion that in order to keep residency violators in check, the government had to address the root of the problem and crack down on those who were selling visas.

8% of respondents felt that this would cause a decrease in house rents. “With a fall in demand for housing, it is very likely that flat rents would come down”, a reader stated, looking at the brighter side of the situation.

A number of respondents were less optimistic. 4% held the opinion that this would in turn increase illegal practices and encourage people to produce fake salary certificates. “People will always find a way to circumvent the law,” an expat who has lived in Kuwait for over 20 years shared. Another 4% felt that such a proposal had been suggested a number of times in the past and believed that nothing would change significantly.


By: Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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