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Over-60s issue back to Fatwa, Legislation

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Legality of KD 500 fee in question

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 18: Minister of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman has once again sought the assistance of the Fatwa and Legislation Department of the Council of Ministers on the legality of collecting the 500 dinars fee to renew the residence permit of non-graduate expatriates 60 years and above asking if it is possible to reconsider this decision, reports Al-Qabas daily.

The Minister wants to know the extent of the legality of collecting 500 dinars fee for the renewal of a work permit for a non-graduate expatriate 60 years and above; the legality of excluding some categories from the decision, such as those born in the State of Kuwait or those with Palestinian nationality or documents, especially since the High Court through its verdict has nullified the decision of the Public Authority for Manpower.

Nonetheless, the sources expect the Fatwa and Legislation Department to give its opinion and end this controversy within the next two weeks, and may opt for a new law for the decision not to be invalidated by the court, which means going back to square one and continue to apply the old law. Moreover, informed sources hinted at the possibility of canceling the 500 dinars fee, which was decided by the PAM Board of Directors at the beginning of this month to issue a work permit to non-graduate sixty and above expatriates, saying raising the fee for an “existing” service is not permissible in this manner unless there is a new legislation to cover this increase.

The sources explained the “500 dinars” fee may violate Law No. 79 of 1995 regarding fees and financial costs in exchange for the use of public facilities and services, whose first article states that “it is not permissible, except by law, to increase fees and financial costs that must be paid in exchange for the use of public facilities and services provided by the state. Article No. 2: The provisions of the previous article do not apply to the prices that are paid in exchange for services and goods provided by public bodies and public institutions with attached and independent budgets, nor do they apply to usufruct fees and fees established in accordance with international agreements. It is noteworthy to mention there are 53,000 expatriates who fall under the “60 Resolution” category and if the “500 dinars” fee is applied annually to each work permit, the fees collected will reach only 26.5 million dinars.

The sources pointed out that the law on raising fees for government services that the executive authority is to submit to the National Assembly may solve this problem and enable the decision- issuing authority to raise the special fee for its services and transactions without the need for legislation from the National Assembly, which may mean that the “60 Resolution” is possible.

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