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Kuwait: New Residency Bill for Expats

Perhaps the best thing about the new draft law on residency of expatriates, which has been endorsed by the government, is that it open doors to benefit from the savings of expatriates in investments that can contribute to pushing forward the economic wheel of the country, as well as generate profits for them which would guarantee them a decent life instead of transferring their earnings abroad or depositing them in their personal accounts without making profits from them.

In exclusive statements to the daily, the s explained that the amendments will generate no less than KD 1 billion for the state’s budget within the first year.

An expatriate can be allowed to reside in Kuwait for a period not exceeding ten years as an investor in sectors and categories decided by the government in this regard. This will include those who own real estate in Kuwait, as well as divorced women or widows of Kuwaiti men with children, as well as the children of Kuwaiti women.

One of the conditions for expatriates to own a property is the approval of the government after submitting the required documents to the Ministry of Justice to review the status of the expatriate and his family including good conduct clearance.

There are other conditions related to the property, which is that it should be a residential apartment for private housing and not for rent, and that no limit will be placed on the price of the apartment.

Another condition is that the expatriate must have valid residency.

In response to a question about whether there is a link between this special residency status and the specializations needed in the labor market, the s said, “The granting of special residency is not limited to the requirement of certain specializations, but rather it is conditional on the size of the investment that the expatriate can add for moving the wheel of the economy forward”.

They stressed that granting residency for a period of ten years to any of the categories is not considered as an instrument for automatic renewal of the residency after it expires, revealing that, “There may be an amendment to these conditions in the future, or the Ministry of Interior may decide not to renew for a reason it deems fit. Therefore, the period of ten years is considered as temporary residency that may be renewed under other conditions.”

The s added, “The draft law does not prohibit the transfer of residency for those who work in the government sector and desire to work in the private sector as per article 15 of the bill. Also, it grants a grace period of six months to leave the country to those whose services have been terminated and failed to find a new employer.

From a humanitarian aspect, the draft law stipulates that a foreigner who has been issued with an order for deportation but has interests in Kuwait that require liquidation and settlement will be given a grace period, as determined by the Minister of Interior, to sort out his affairs. Those deported may not return to the country without the minister’s permission.

According to article 17 of the draft law, the fees for residency issuance and renewal, and all types of entry visas would be determined by a decision of the Minister of Interior.

The law prohibits transfer of the domestic visa to a work permit. Also, it is not permissible for a domestic worker to stay outside Kuwait for a period of more than four months.”

Al Anba daily indicated that the visa exemption for the citizens of some countries will be granted through a draft decree.

It is worth mentioning that a neighboring country had implemented similar amendments last year.

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