Kuwait: Residence permits of 1,000 expats expiring daily

Kuwait City: The residency permits of 1,000 expats are expiring each day as they remain stuck outside Kuwait and their Kuwaiti sponsors have not renewed their permits, Al Rai reported.

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The Ministry of Interior has allowed sponsors and companies to renew their employees’ residence permits online, via the ministry’s website.

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Expats who have an expired residency are unable to return to the country unless their employer renews their residency or they enter on a new visa. “There are a lot of companies and employers renewing the residency of their employees that are stuck abroad, but on the other hand there are employers that have not renewed their employees’ residencies, or that of their families, therefore they carry the responsibility of their residency [permits] expiring,” a source told Al Rai.

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Under regular circumstances, residencies are voided for those that spend more than 6 months outside of Kuwait with a valid visa. But since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry of Interior has extended the period for those with valid visas who are stuck abroad to the end of the year. As of last Sunday, around 40,000 expats lost their residence permits as they failed to renew them on account of being stuck abroad.

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The Ministry of Interior is likely to meet this week to discuss the fate of 70,000 expats stuck abroad. The committee will look into who will be allowed to return to the country.

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Closure of airport

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Kuwait International Airport has been closed since March 13 and the country has prohibited the entry of commercial flights. In April, the government initiated a repartition plan that was aimed at evacuating 50,000 Kuwaiti citizens that were stuck abroad.

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As for departures, the government has allowed for expats to leave the country. Since March 16, over 158,000 expats have left Kuwait on a total of 993 flights.

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The airport is set to open at a 30 per cent capacity on August 1.

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In April, the Ministry of Interior initiated an amnesty programme that allowed residency violators to leave the country with no penalty. The government also paid for their tickets. Between April and June, 26,000 visa violators left Kuwait as a result of the amnesty programme.

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