Bill Scrutinizes Fees for Residence, Transfer, and Visit Visas

Proposed Bill Aims to Diversify Residency Durations for Expatriates

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 6: The parliamentary Interior and Defense Affairs Committee recently approved the bill on amending the Expats Residency Law and referred it to the National Assembly for inclusion in the session scheduled for Dec 19, reports Al- Anba daily quoting parliamentary sources. Sources told the daily that the bill consists of 37 articles and seven chapters; focusing on articles specifying the mechanism for the entry and deportation of expats, notifying the competent authorities, visa trading, and penalties, a Kuwaiti woman married to a foreigner obtaining the right to sponsor her husband and children; provided that she has not obtained citizenship according to Article Eight.

Sources explained that the bill, which the government was keen to pass as soon as possible, specifies the fees related to residency, its renewal, and all types of entry visas through a ministerial decision. According to sources, the bill prohibits trading in residence permits by exploiting, recruiting, or facilitating the recruitment of a foreigner in exchange for sums of money or a form of benefit, and imposes criminal penalties and complementary penalties of imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years and a fine of not less than KD5,000 and not more than KD10,000 for anyone who violates this.

It stipulates that the Public Prosecution has exclusive jurisdiction over the exemption from penalty for visa trading. The bill also grants a Kuwaiti woman married to a foreigner the right to obtain a residence permit for her foreign husband and children, as long as the Kuwaiti woman did not acquire citizenship by extension of her marriage to a Kuwaiti.

The expat widow or divorcee of a Kuwaiti, who has children with him, is entitled to obtain a residence permit. An expat may be granted temporary residence in Kuwait for a period not exceeding three months, and he must leave the country upon its expiration unless he obtains a renewal of this residence from the Ministry of Interior for a period not exceeding one year. An expat may be granted a license for regular residence for a period not exceeding five years, and a residence permit may be granted for a period not exceeding ten years and 15 years for the children of a Kuwaiti woman married to a non-Kuwaiti.

Invest
Expats can invest in Kuwait, as per the decision of the Council of Ministers, specifying the scope of their investments, their categories and the amounts to be invested. An expat employee in a government entity may not be granted a residence permit under another entity except with the approval of the entity in which he is currently working. Likewise, a worker in a non-governmental entity will not be granted a residence permit except with the approval of the competent authority.

The Minister of Interior may deport a expats even if he has a residence permit in the following cases: – If the Minister of Interior deems that deportation is required to protect the public interest, public security, or public morals;

■ If the expat has no legitimate source of income. The decision to deport a foreigner may include the foreign members of his family whom he is supporting, and the foreigner whose deportation decision has been issued may be detained for a period not exceeding 30 days to be extended at the end of the specified period if it is necessary to implement the deportation decision. The Minister of Interior may exempt the expat who is deported from the State of Kuwait from all fines resulting from his violation of the provisions of this law on the condition that he leaves Kuwait. The bill includes amendments related to domestic workers as follows:

■ The domestic worker and those of the same status may be granted a regular residence permit following the provisions of Article 13 of this law and within the limits of the duration of his recruitment contract.

■ If the worker’s residency is canceled from the date he left work, he must leave Kuwait within the period specified by the competent authority in the Ministry of Interior unless he is authorized to obtain a new residency before the expiry of this period.

■ In all cases, the residency of the domestic worker or those of the same rank may not be transferred except with the approval of the employer.

■ The domestic worker should not remain outside Kuwait for a period exceeding four months unless he obtains permission to do so from the Ministry of Interior before the expiration of this period. Excluded from the application of the provisions of the law included in the draft are: heads of State and their family members; heads and official employees of diplomatic missions and their families on the condition of reciprocity; holders of diplomatic, special, and political passports on the condition of reciprocity; and persons whom the Minister of Interior deems to be excluded with special permission for considerations related to courtesies.

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