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IT seems as if the government wants us to pay the price double or multiple times for the havoc it has caused through impromptu ill-considered decisions, taken by officials whose authority is only within the affairs of their administrations, and threatened worst consequences that might befall on everyone.
This is our situation after a series of confused decisions, including non-renewal of the residencies of expatriates who have reached the age of 60 and above. Undoubtedly, this kind of decision would deprive Kuwait of expatriates who are experienced in managing several projects, have proven integrity, and have contributed to helping the private sector overcome challenges … but they were ultimately rewarded with deportation.
Is there anyone who has studied the consequences of this kind of demographic adjustment and its negative effect on the national economy, such as the real estate that is on the verge of collapse today?
Will the state compensate citizens for the high cost they must pay for these decisions … Or will we face a different kind of visa trading?
We will not talk about Saudi Arabia or the UAE in this regard so as not to provoke some who are sensitive to the useful and right decisions taken by the two countries. Rather, we will take Switzerland, which has one of the strongest economies, as an example. In that country, expatriates constitute sixty percent of the population, and all of them work in industrial, agricultural, hotel and services sectors while the citizens work in specific jobs and industries.
As for those who are not citizens and are above sixty years of age, they obtain citizenship if they prove their contribution to the economy, their skills, and the level of their spending of what they earned in the country. The only requirement for them is to have health insurance in order to secure medical care in private sector hospitals.
Is our administration superior in development planning compared to this advanced country? Did those who took such a decision check its consistency with the Constitution, laws, treaties and international agreements signed by Kuwait?
Unfortunately, the government is continuing its old game of leaving matters to small employees, while it does not dare make a move. The country’s loss therefore increases daily, given that the financial management of the country is neither good nor healthy.
As for the most important factor in national investment, they are the expatriates because of whom our economy breathes. Yet, we are closing the country in their faces, and wondering who will dare come without feeling the sense of safety and stability.
Half of the workers whose entry was facilitated are employed for the welfare of the citizens. They include drivers, servants, cooks, farmers and many others. They live in the homes of citizens, while those who are to be deported are the ones renting apartments, buying from supermarkets and shops owned by citizens; and saving their money in our local banks.
I can’t stop wondering if the one who came up with this decision knows what it means.
In many countries, there is a rational administration that is well aware of how to benefit from these skills. It also employs them as a way to attract foreign capital, which recorded the worst indicators in Kuwait during the past two years. This is due to the exit of national investments from the country at a rate of 400 percent. Despite this, restrictions continue to be imposed on the private sector, investors and skilled people, and the closure of several interests because the one who manages them has reached the age of sixty.
On the other hand, such people are given a golden residency permit in the United Arab Emirates. Has the state become the boss of the private sector and determines who is to be employed in it, when in reality, it is the private sector that should be the one determining who it wants to employ based on need and experience?
Here I highlight the decision taken by former US President Donald Trump, who issued an executive order for official institutions to hire skilled people without looking at their certificates.
In Saudi Arabia, the government has set a clear policy for such employees. It imposes reasonable fees on those who are able and productive, while those unable will leave. This is the same in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.
In the European Union, such people get special treatment, while our government settles on deportation decisions. This increases the suffering of the citizens who will incur more losses in the future at a time when it increases the facilities for the entertainment sector.
Therefore, we ask – Why all this confusion? Are we of the Aryan race? O officials, do you hate Kuwait? Do you not want it to be good and stop making more fatal decisions for the national economy?
I wish the country’s leaders would read this and realize where the confused impromptu decisions will take us.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times