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Kuwait unlikely to extend visas beyond Aug 31, to stop issuing work permits for certain expats aged over 60

Kuwait unlikely to extend visas beyond Aug 31, to stop issuing work permits for certain expats aged over 60

Expatriates whose visas expired by the end of May were given a three-month free grace period to renew their documents

Kuwait expats

Kuwait’s Interior Ministry is “unlikely” to extend the validity of residence visas beyond August 31, according to local media reports.

Expatriates whose visas expired by the end of May were given a three-month free grace period, from June 1 until August 31, to renew their permits.

The ministry had also previously allowed expats inside and outside the country to renew their residencies online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It had also permitted expats to stay outside the country for up to 12 months – compared to the requirement of six months – without getting their residence visas cancelled.

However, the initiative is due to expire on August 31, with the ministry not expected to extend the services, Kuwait Times reported.

Last month, officials confirmed that residency permit holders outside of Kuwait, who were unable to renew their documents, would not be allowed to return unless they got new visas. Around 40,000 residency permits were not renewed.

No work permits for expats aged 60 and above

Meanwhile Kuwait’s Public Manpower Authority has confirmed that it will stop issuing work permits for expats aged 60 years and above who do not hold a university degree, Kuwait Times reported.

The decision is expected to take effect from January 1, 2021.

The announcement comes after Kuwait’s government proposed a new plan earlier this month to ‘rebalance’ its population.

The plan could see as many as 360,000 expatriates deported in the “short-term” including 120,000 illegal workers, 150,000 expats aged over 60 as well as 90,000 ‘poorly-educated labourers’, according to media reports.

Longer-term, the plan proposes replacing tens of thousands of expat workers with locals, by adopting technology and tightening the recruitment regulations, officials said.

Read: Kuwait mulling plan that could see 360,000 expats deported in the ‘short-term’

Expats currently account for roughly 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

However, the Gulf state would like expat numbers to reduce to 30 per cent of the country’s population, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said in June.

That would require cutting down the number of foreign workers by around 2.5 million.

Read: Kuwait doesn’t want to be an expat-majority nation anymore

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