KUWAIT CITY, March 10: The stepfeed.com quoting the Al-Watan e-newspaper said expatriates who suffer from cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and several other diseases although not contagious will no longer be able to obtain residencies in Kuwait.
This comes after Kuwait’s Ministry of Health is said to have released a list of 22 sicknesses that will make people ineligible to apply for permanent residence status in the country. Other illnesses mentioned on the list include renal failure, vision problems, squinting and scores of others.
The Assistant Undersecretary for General Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health, Majida Al Qattan, confirmed the news saying it comes in line with a GCC council decision which dates back to 2001. Although this move is expected to be criticized, she explained the main aim was to reduce the costs of expat healthcare on the Treasury and ensure expats arriving in the country are fit to work. Before the implementation of the most recent expat ban, Kuwait did bar people with infectious diseases from entering or leaving the country in line with international laws.
Those diseases include AIDS, Herpes, Hepatitis B and G, Malaria, Leprosy, Syphilis, Tuberculosis, and Gonorrhea. However, it is not clear whether the new ban is applicable to those who are already working in the country or it is applicable to new arrivals but it is the first time the country bans people with non-infectious illnesses from entering.
Sources said the most recent move is set to be criticized by international human rights organizations because it is unusual to ban people from entering countries if the illnesses they suffer from are not infectious. The source added that the list now being implemented was introduced eight years ago but was not approved until earlier this year. Last year, Kuwait increased expat health fees.
In October 2017, Kuwait increased all public health fees for expats for the first time in two decades. At the time of its implementation, the decision was widely criticized by many who said it was unfair.
The fee hike came after several parliamentarians argued that since the Gulf state’s oil revenues are dropping, it could no longer afford to provide health care to expats for low prices or for free.
Some also said that given that 70 percent of the country’s population is made up of expatiates, the move would help reduce the load on its health services.
Even though the move is still being applied, Kuwait’s Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, said the increased health fees are now being reassessed “as they were imposed based upon a government proposal not a parliamentary one.”