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Kuwait mulls increasing expat fees by 150%

Kuwait International Airport, south of the capital Kuwait City on 3 May 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images]
Kuwait International Airport, south of the capital Kuwait City on 3 May 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images]

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Economic Affairs has proposed an 150 per cent increase in expatriate service fees.

The ministry’s proposal aimed at addressing the demographic imbalance in Kuwait where expats constitute nearly 70 per cent of the population. Under the proposal, fees for renewing residency permits would rise, restricting the granting of family visas and doubling the fees for electricity, education, health and insurance as of early September.

The ministry also suggested stopping the renewal of residency permits for expats who are over the age of 60, halting exceptions granted to some professions such as consultants in government agencies, increasing the percentage of Kuwaitis working in state agencies and limiting expat communities to less than 30 per cent of population.

Last week, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah said his country wants to reduce the number of expats to 30 per cent of the total population down from the current 70 per cent.

READ: 4,200 Egypt expats in Kuwait returned home

The country’s Minister of Oil and acting Minister of Electricity and Water, Dr. Khaled Al Fadil, also announced that the Gulf state will no longer hire expatriate workers in state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries for the year 2020-21.

Kuwait’s economy has been hit hard by the global drop in oil prices as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this month, Kuwait’s Cabinet agreed to cut government budgets by at least 20 per cent during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The National Bank of Kuwait SAK, the country’s biggest lender, predicted the shortfall would reach 40 per cent of gross domestic product in the fiscal year.

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