15 years residency to investors and real estate owners

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MoI unveils sweeping reforms to foreign residency laws

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 16: In a groundbreaking move, the Ministry of Interior has disclosed a comprehensive overhaul of the foreigners’ residency law, targeting the rectification of existing deficiencies and loopholes identified through practical experiences with the current legislation. The amendment, encompassing modifications to both wording and provisions, aims to enhance the legal framework and addresses challenges posed by the current law.

A key highlight of the reform is the strengthened penalties for residency dealers, as revealed in the Ministry’s opinion presented in the report of the Parliamentary Interior and Defense Committee to the National Assembly. The proposed legislation demonstrates a flexible approach to streamline transactions and align with contemporary trends observed in neighboring countries.

Notable changes include an extension of residency duration for the children of Kuwaiti women to ten years, with the possibility of renewal, fostering family ties. Two new categories — real estate owners and investors—are introduced, granting them regular residency for periods ranging from ten to fifteen years, aiming to attract investments and promote economic diversity.

The draft law empowers the Minister of Interior to adjust fees related to residence and entry visas, enhancing administrative flexibility. The Ministry asserts that the proposed legislation prioritizes tightening penalties, combatting residency trafficking, and deterring illegal practices. Procedures are established to ensure that workers adhere to their licensed purpose, holding employers accountable for any unlicensed workers’ employment and associated expenses, including deportation costs.

The Interior and Defense Committee, after thorough research and analysis, deems the project crucial to rectifying historical shortcomings in the implementation of Emiri Decree No. (17) of 1959. The committee emphasizes the significance of the new provisions, particularly in tackling residency trafficking and related crimes.

In response to practical problems, the committee recommends an increase in the prison sentence for residency trafficking, treating it as a felony with a potential imprisonment of up to five years. Amendments to various articles include the removal of specific requirements for government employment in Article No. (10) and an extension of the residency period to 15 years for foreign investors in Article No. (13).

Furthermore, changes to Article No. (14) extend the notification period for a domestic worker leaving their job to two weeks and permit an absence from Kuwait for more than four months with prior permission from the Ministry of Interior. The committee introduces a requirement for regular residency, depending on the entity’s request, in the reworded Article No. (15).

The project emphasizes minimum penalties in Articles (27 and 28) and allows punishment for the person responsible for a legal entity if the crime is committed in their name or on their account. Notably, Article (29) regarding exemption from punishment for reporting a residency trafficking agreement is removed, as it is already regulated in the general rules of the Penal Code.

The committee applauds the project’s alignment with modern developments, particularly in encouraging investment and attracting capital. Investors in specified categories are now eligible for a distinguished residence permit lasting fifteen years, subject to renewal. Additionally, foreign real estate owners are granted residency for ten years, respecting the right to private property protected by the Constitution.

In a nod to constitutional principles, the draft law affords the children of Kuwaiti women residency for ten years, exempting them from certain requirements. The legislation also reduces the period a domestic worker can stay outside Kuwait to four months, recognizing the families’ ongoing need for their services.

As the draft law progresses through the legislative process, stakeholders and the public are encouraged to stay informed about these transformative changes to Kuwait’s residency regulations.

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