40,000 Kuwait expats stranded abroad to lose residency

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40,000 Kuwait expats stranded abroad to lose residency

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, according to various local reports.

Most are stuck abroad due to the restrictive measures amid the covid-19 pandemic.

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

The Kuwaiti government had extended the validity of all visas for those currently in the Gulf state to 31 August, with up to 4 million people potentially benefiting from the decision. According to estimats, at the moemtn Expat workers account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait's 4.8 million population. 

In an interview with local news outlet 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.

Imbalance

As reported, Kuwaiti MPs proposed a law in May this year to address the country's long-standing issues regarding what it believes is a demographic imbalance between foreign expats and Kuwaiti nationals that is expected to lead to hundreds of thousands of foreigners being laid off and replaced with locals.

It is estimated hat 92,000 expats left Kuwait between April to June, including illegal migrants. The Kuwaiti government announced an amnesty in April to offer illegal migrants exemption from punishment in return for free flights home. 

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