Kuwait to ban expatriates with certain diseases from permanent residence

Published:  12 Mar at 6 PM
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The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health has released a directive banning expats with certain non-contagious illnesses from becoming permanent residents.

The ban follows another directive listing 22 sicknesses and applies to expats with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and several other non-contagious illnesses as yet undeclared. The original list included vision problems, squinting, kidney disease, renal failure, herpes, AIDS, malaria, TB, hepatitis B and G and many other medical conditions.

It’s not yet clear whether the new law will apply to expats already working in the emirate or whether it’s aimed solely at new arrivals, thus making it the first time Kuwait has banned those with non-infectious diseases or other illnesses from entering.The ban follows on from Kuwait’s increasing of expat public health fees from October last year, with falling oil prices mooted as the reason behind the increase.

Lawmakers also cited the move as the answer to soaring public healthcare costs, blaming Kuwait’s 70 per cent expat population. Oddly, although the fee increase is still being enforced, the law is now being reassessed as the imposition of the increase was based on a government proposal rather than on a parliamentary proposal.

The banning of expats with a listed illness is likely to attract condemnation from international human rights groups, but it’s unlikely Kuwait will take any notice of comments by outside organisations. According to a source, the list was prepared and introduced around eight years ago, but was only approved late in 2017. It's now being implemented. simply to ensure incoming expatriates are fit for work, according to a Ministry of Health official.
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