Kuwait Expat Affairs – Expat Expulsion

Gangs of New York was an amazing movie, its most memorable scene being the finale before the credits rolled, as the audience is given the opportunity to witness the burgeoning skyline, from hovels to sky scrapers, the unstoppable force of progress.

How does this compare to Kuwait? To any who were living here for a considerable period of time, say 20+ odd years or so, Kuwait has drastically changed.

Back in the 90’s, Kuwait was at its Golden Age, traffic was acceptable and the people were agreeable.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s; the Real Estate “Boom”.

Land owners saw an opportunity to further line their pockets with money by tearing down their previous buildings, measuring 3 or 4 storeys maximum, with 4 apartments per floor giving a total of 12 – 16 apartments, and replace them with 9-10 storey buildings, with 4 apartments per floor, meaning a total of 36 – 40 apartments. Everywhere you looked, Hawally, Salmiya, Midan Hawally, Farwaniya etc. witnessed the same rapid boom in construction. The downside? As the apartments got bigger, the roads remained stagnant. The infrastructure did not keep up with construction. Bottlenecks were surely to emerge and emerge they did.

And that is why we find ourselves in our current predicament. Traffic.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot stop progress. Progress is measured by expansion, expansion is apparent.

The general consensus seems to be Blame the Expats.

Hence, the following measures have been taken to curtail the results of progress:

1) MoI ‘Deports’ 1,285 Expats For Serious Traffic Violations (link)

2) Driving License Requirements For Expats Toughen (link)

The law will require expatriates to apply for a license under additional conditions, requiring them to possess “a legal residency of at least two years, a salary which exceeds KD 400 and a university degree,” however, there are exceptions to the law.

3) KUWAIT TO BAR EXPATS FROM MORNING TREATMENT (link)

 

Activists in the oil-rich Gulf state condemned the move, and opposition lawyer and writer Mohammad Abdulqader al- Jassem described it as “racial segregation” on Twitter. Similar restrictions are in place at other government agencies such as the traffic department, which handles applications from Kuwaitis only in the morning

 4) Lawmaker condemns anti-expats measures – ‘Punish visa traders not their victims’ (link)

MP Saad Al-Bous said penalties applied against expatriates should be proportionate to the violations they commit without the need for rash and unfair decisions that may adversely impact Kuwaiti democratic system. The lawmaker said that before deporting expatriates for grave traffic offenses, they should be given at least three opportunities before deporting them.

He also said that with regards to laborers recruited by visa traders, these people should not be deported and instead be given enough time to legalize their stay by obtaining residence permits from other companies, because these laborers have committed no mistake as they entered the country through a proper work permit.

He said that according to statements by officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, there are around 1,000 paper companies and if we suppose each company employs around 10 expats on average, then that means we have to deport about 10,000 workers. Instead of deporting them and recruiting new workers from abroad, it is better to allow them to legalize their stay and benefit from their experience.

And the end result?
Expats deportation hurts Kuwait labor market – Visa trafficking flourishing (link)

The announcement of a government plan to deport 100,000 expatriate laborers annually has negatively impacted the labor market as the cost of recruitment has gone up while visa trafficking has increased, a top unionist said in a recent statement.

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