Kuwait’s new residency bill features strict punishments.
03 October 2023, 12:00 AM
31 October 2023, 12:00 AM
Parliament’s Committee for Interior and Defence Affairs will hold a meeting on Sunday to discuss the bill on amending the law related to foreigners’ residency in Kuwait.
The bill consists of 37 articles split into seven chapters. It allows Kuwaiti women to grant their non-Kuwaiti husbands and children permanent residency but under one condition, which is that she must not have obtained Kuwaiti citizenship as per article 8, i.e., acquiring citizenship because of getting married to a Kuwaiti citizen. Former non-Kuwaiti wives or widows of Kuwaiti men are allowed to obtain permanent residency as long as they have children from that marriage.
The bill imposes penalties of maximum three-year imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from KD 5,000 to KD 10,000 against individuals who are accused of human trafficking by bringing in expatriate workers after receiving money from them.
The Public Prosecution is authorised as the relevant authority to identify the crime in a lawsuit as human trafficking.
According to the bill, hotels and furnished rental apartments must inform the relevant department at the Ministry of Interior about the names of their foreign clients and the dates of their check-in and check-out.
The fees for residency renewal and entry visa will be determined by a ministerial decision to be issued by the minister of Interior.
As per the bill, foreigners are allowed to stay in Kuwait for a maximum of three months after the expiry of their temporary residency, in case they are unable to renew or transfer residency.
Expatriates can obtain a maximum of five-year residency. The children of Kuwaiti women and the owners of real estate in Kuwait can obtain a maximum residency of ten years. Foreign investors can obtain a maximum of 15-year residency. The Council of Ministers will define the businesses included in this condition, and the required amount of investment.
Expatriate workers of a public sector institution cannot be granted a license to work in another public sector institution without the approval of the first institution.
Domestic workers are allowed to stay in Kuwait for the term period of their contract unless their residency is cancelled after leaving the work. In such a case, they are to be granted a grace period, as defined by the relevant department at the Ministry of Interior, to leave unless they obtain a new residency from another sponsor.
Transfer of domestic labor residency will not be allowed without the approval of the employer. Domestic workers can stay outside Kuwait for a maximum of four continuous months unless they obtain a permit from the relevant department at the Ministry of Interior prior to the end of the four months.
The bill authorised the Minister of Interior to deport expatriate workers, even if they hold a valid residency, in case the minister deems deportation necessary to preserve public interest or based on moral and security reasons, or if they are not working to survive.
The decision to deport may include the expatriate’s family members whom he sponsors. Deported expatriates can be subject to one-month arrest but will be able to renew residency before leaving Kuwait.
The Minister of Interior is authorised to exempt deported expatriates from paying the fines resulting from previous violations. Presidents of other countries, their family members, the members of diplomatic delegations and their family members, and holders of special passports of political nature are exempted from this law. The Minister of Interior is authorised to exempt specific individuals from this law for courtesy/ complimentary reasons.
The report on the bill is expected to be completed before the end of parliamentary vacation in order to be scheduled during the upcoming sessions.