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40,000 Kuwait expats stranded abroad to lose residency

Most are stuck abroad due to the restrictive measures amid the coronavirus pandemic

Around 40,000 expatriates currently stranded outside of Kuwait are unable to renew their residency permits and won't be allowed to return without a valid visa, reports the Kuwait Times.

Most are stuck abroad due to the restrictive measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kuwait's Residency Affairs Director, Hamad Rashed Al-Tawala, said: "They will be unable to return to the country unless they have new visas." Adding, the country is preparing a law that would amend residency renewal fees and other types of visas.

The government has extended the validity of all visas for those currently in the Gulf state to 31 August, with as many as four million people benefiting from the decision.

READ: Lebanon seeks oil from Kuwait

In an interview with Al-Rai, Al-Tawala also said that about 7,000 residents, mostly Egyptians and Indians, had cancelled their residency permits and left the country during the pandemic.

In May, it was reported that Kuwaiti MPs have proposed a law to address the country's long-standing demographic imbalance between foreign expats and Kuwaiti nationals, which if approved could lead to hundreds of thousands of foreigners being laid off and replaced with locals.

According to one official, 92,000 expats left Kuwait between April to June, including illegal migrants. The government announced an amnesty in April to offer illegal migrants exemption from punishment in return for free flights home. Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait's 4.8 million population.

READ: Kuwait's emir in hospital, crown prince takes over some duties

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