Kuwait expats and locals in outcry over driving license suspension

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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The decision of Kuwait’s Ministry of the Interior to deny expats the right to driving licenses has prompted an outcry involving both foreigners and Kuwaitis.

The recent announcement suspending driving licenses for expats working in the emirate has resulted in foreigners affected by the ban as well as Kuwaiti nationals having their say in no uncertain terms. The ruling applies to all expat residents with the exception of domestic workers and foreigners with valid driving licenses from their countries of origin, with one Kuwaiti national stating it clearly goes against human rights and another saying it’s specifically aimed at the expat community who need cars to get to their jobs.

Another local, Jamal Azeb, explained that, in expats’ home countries, adequate public transport such as metros and railway systems meant most people could get to work without having to resort to car usage. In Kuwait, he continued, there are only crowded, slow, infrequent and uncomfortable public buses connecting residential areas with commercial hubs.

Expats, he added, need their cars to get to work, with the rule that a homeland drivers’ license must be shown in order to get a Kuwaiti license untenable due to the fact that only two driving schools exist in Kuwait. Another Kuwaiti national, Ibrahim al Uqali, told the Arab Times the plan to suspend expat licenses was unique to the emirate and gives great cause for concern in cases where expats become sick late at night and are unable to get to hospital without the assistance of neighbours.

Meanwhile, as the situation in Qatar drags on, the emirate’s ban on leaving the country for certain sectors of the community has now been extended to include several other sectors. Expat residents are concerned about reports of non-Qatari forces patrolling the conurbation and guarding important buildings as well as manning checkpoints all over the city. Analysts believe the pressure on Qatar has intensified over the past 10 days, with a visit to all seven hostile countries yielding no results and Qatari SMEs struggling with heavy losses.
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