Kuwait bans conversion of visit visas to residency permits

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Kuwaiti authorities have ordered a ban on converting all types of visit visas into residency permits as the country is trying to redress a demographic imbalance, according to a media report.

The instructions were issued by the Interior Ministry to the expatriate affairs sector prohibiting resident expatriates from becoming sponsors of family members who have come to Kuwait on visit visas since the start of this year, Al Rai newspaper reported Wednesday, citing well-informed sources.

“All visas have been allowed for extension until the end of the current month. But, no visit visa will be converted into a residency permit without an exception approval from the [interior] minister in very restricted humanitarian cases,” a source said.

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Renewal is still valid for those visitors who are already sponsored by a family head. “The new decision applies to those wishing to turn a visit card into a residency permit,” the source explained.

“This measure comes within the framework of modifying the population make-up, especially as there are drastic changes under the new residency law set to be unveiled soon,” the source added without details.

Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s overall 4.8 million population. There have been increasing calls in Kuwait to redress the demographic imbalance in the country, prompting several government bodies to disclose plans to minimise numbers of their foreign employees.

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The Kuwaiti parliament is reportedly looking into proposals to scale back the numbers of expatriates in the country.


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