After hesitation which did not last for long, the General Department of Residence Affairs has decided to cancel or, rather, amend its previous decision to refuse to renew the residence permits of parents and siblings living in the country on family visa after the administration identified the negative aspects of the decision on the reputation of Kuwait because the issue is related to the fate of more than 11,000 people living in the country.
These people were given a three-month deadline to prepare to leave the country, a frighteningly short period, especially for those who have no house elsewhere and had been living here for long years, the country where they worked and went into retirement.
They have been sponsored by their children and in some cases by their elder siblings. They do not have another home other than Kuwait because Kuwait had been their permanent residence for more than fifty or sixty years.
The Ministry of Interior, in its new decision, has put conditions on parents and siblings who wish to continue to be sponsored on family visa. The people are under obligation to be covered by a mandatory health insurance policy allowing them to receive treatment in private hospitals and medical centers not in government facilities, as was the case and still is at the time of writing this article, knowing that the installment will certainly be reasonable and will not be a drain on the resources of the expatriate.
In the same context, the Al-Qabas daily, quoting a security source, said the decision was not taken suddenly but after long careful studies, meetings and discussions between the Ministry of Interior and a number of other government agencies, in particular the Ministry of Health.
The source stressed the imposition of a mandatory health insurance on the parents and siblings will help ease the pressure on government hospitals and protect public money.
This decision may not satisfy some, but it is certainly much better than the decision to leave within three months. The decision may not contribute to easing the pressure on government hospitals due to the relatively small number of people of this category compared to more than 1 million over-employed, but it is a qualitative leap in solving several health, organizational and structural problems.
The resolution also gives the Ministry of the Interior a more humane and sympathetic approach towards the resident. The previous decision would have inevitably affected Kuwait reputation from the humanitarian point of view, which it has gained as a result of our generosity and hospitality towards others and the wisdom of Kuwait’s political leadership.
I avail myself of the opportunity to thank the Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs Major-General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah of the Ministry of Interior for this humanitarian decision and thank the Minister of interior, who, without his support, would have to wait longer.
I also thank our colleague Iqbal Al-Ahmad, and each writer who took pains to ask the Ministry of Interior to reconsider the decision.
We have all put the smile back on the sad faces.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf