Kuwait adds more fuel to expat fires of discontent

Published:  6 Sep at 6 PM
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The expat situation in Kuwait is set to deteriorate further as the government draws up plans to limit the number of expat workers and their length of stay in the emirate.

Kuwait’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and State Minister for Planning and Development Hind al Subaih announced yesterday her ministry was preparing to introduce rules limiting the number of expats in the private sector and shortening the permitted duration of stay. The changes, she added, are intended to shrink the expat population to below that of Kuwaiti nationals, with the actual manpower needs of companies coming under strict government control.

Following the Kuwaiti government’s decision to force both expats and visitors to purchase private health insurance, the government is to develop separate hospitals for expats as part of an independent healthcare system linked with the medical insurance plan. The scheme will see private hospitals and other medical centres developed exclusively for expats holding the required health insurance, although a date for its launch has not yet been given.

Since the recent swinging hike in fuel prices, expats and citizens alike are making their opinions felt about the immediate skyrocketing of prices for food and other necessities. Most are claiming traders are simply increasing their prices at the same rate as the fuel price increase in order to cover their added expenses and gain extra profits.

The apparent lack of market monitoring is being given as a reason why the huge price hikes aren’t attracting the government’s attention. Protestors are pointing out that other GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain haven’t been affected by rises in commodity prices after their fuel price increases took effect, and are urging the government to clamp down on rogue traders.
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