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Salary cap huge setback for family reunions – Blessing in disguise, say some

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 26: Many experts in Kuwait have been perturbed with the news that the minimum salary requirement for a family visa has been raised to KD 450.

The majority of respondents in this week’s online poll on this issue, felt that familial life of those earning below the threshold would be adversely affected. Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalid Al-Sabah issued a ministerial decision to amend some provisions of the expatriate residence law and raised the minimum salary of applicants for family visas family from KD 250 to KD 450.

The decision stipulates an expatriate who wishes to bring his family from outside to stay with him should have a minimum monthly salary of KD 450 and the applicant should be working in the same profession registered on his residence.

It was reported in the Arab Times that those who are already in the country on family visa and those born in Kuwait can be exempted only by the Director General of Residence Affairs.

According to the Director General of Public Relations and Security Media Brigadier Adel Al-Hashash, the new decision will not be implemented retroactively and those presently in the country whose salaries are below KD 450 will be exempted, and the residence of people under their sponsorship will be renewed.

32 percent of the respondents believed that this was a huge setback for families. “I am in a big soup because of this new law. My wife who also resides and works in Kuwait just went back home for delivery. We have a newborn and we are not certain that we will be able to bring him to Kuwait now. This is completely unfair and we don’t know what to do.”

19 percent of the people shared that this was a very good step taken by Ministry. “With the rising cost of living, it seems appropriate that the minimum wage be raised. Kuwait has become very expensive for families. This way, those who are just scraping by will probably be forced to consider better alternatives.”

“Raising a child abroad is more expensive than at home. So parents will be forced to make tough questions with the implementation of this law. Anyway, the quality of life for children in Kuwait isn’t necessarily better than what they would have back home so I see no problem there.”

22 percent shared that lesser expats family expected and 28 percent of the voters felt that this move was a ray of hope for rents to come down. “I hope that fewer expat families would mean lower rents in the near future. If you live near a cluster of schools in expatriate areas, the apartments are small and rents are soaring. If enough people decide to move away with all the hikes being introduced in Kuwait, there might be some relief on the real estate front,” a voter shared.

“I think this law will have long term implications and change the makeup of the expatriate community in Kuwait. Generally Asian expats coming here with children, build a life here and go back home after decades. They invest a lot of their time and resources in the country. Those who come as single wage earners will have different priorities, they may stay for shorter periods and save every penny, not spending much within the country,” another respondent pointed.

By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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