THE Ministry of Interior took a dramatic decision concerning the non-renewal of family visas for the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of expatriates residing in Kuwait. The decision limited issuance of family visit visa to the wife and children.
A security source disclosed the relevant official bodies in the six governorates have been instructed not to renew visas of the fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters of expatriates living in the country. He said the decision stipulates granting these people temporary residence permits valid for three months during which they must reform their conditions and then leave the country. An assistant undersecretary in the ministry justified the decision by saying it is aimed at addressing the lopsided demographic structure issue. We all agree on the importance of correcting the demographic structure but this objective will not be realized by taking such random decisions.
The total number of targeted categories (fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters) is about 11,000 while the lopsided demographic structure involves around one million expatriates. Moreover, these categories could be a source of income as their sponsors shoulder their expenses. If they become a burden on public services, this can be solved by imposing tax or fees for these services.
The decision has dangerous social and psychological repercussions as most of the fathers and mothers have no other family or house outside Kuwait. Thus, their cases need to be carefully examined one by one. The current conditions should remain as they are. The decision should be applied only on new residents who should be informed on the first day they reach Kuwait that they will not be able to bring their fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters here.
We agree with the assistant undersecretary that the lopsided demographic issue is getting worse each day but we have to realize that solving the issue should not be done at the expense of a certain category. Reforming the demographic structure is a political decision, not technical. We all know exactly the way to solve this issue without affecting that category. If the assistant undersecretary uses the same way we use to reach Kuwait International Airport, he will be surprised by the large number of laborers who work in transporting the luggage. The State can easily do away with them by adopting new attitudes and utilizing modern methods.
It is unreasonable to get rid of those who spend most of their income in the country. It is better to eliminate those who do not add economic value to the country and those who transfer most of their income outside Kuwait.
Dear Sir, the assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of Interior, a quick revision of cleaning and security guard contracts will make you realize that saving hundreds of thousands of jobs is valuable.
We need to stress that the decision on reforming the demographic structure is political. I believe Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh knows this well and she needs everybody to cooperate with her.
By Ahmed Al-Sarraf