Al Hashem exorbitant expats fees voted down by Kuwaiti lawmakers

Published:  14 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas
‘Oh, no, she’s at it again’ could well be the response of expats working in Kuwait after the controversial politician hit out again at foreigners with a proposal to charge exorbitant fees to expat drivers.

Al Hashem’s latest attack on Kuwait’s expat community concentrated on would-be drivers applying for local licenses. The unpopular MP urged members of Kuwait’s Parliamentary Committee on the Interior and Defence to agree a charge of KD1000 for all expats applying for a drivers’ license. As if that weren’t enough, she also proposed charging KD500 for the annual license renewal and another KD500 when vehicle documents were renewed.

Previously, she’d urged parliament to refuse to renew the documentation of any vehicle older than 10 years, and suggested family visa applications for any person other than parents should be summarily refused. In addition, she considers the visa fees themselves should be subject to a 100 per cent rise, along with a maximum of 10 years’ residence for all expatriates.

Fortunately for the expat community, the Kuwaiti parliament now seems to have got Al Hashem’s measure, as they politely rejected all her proposals. Committee members agreed the overcrowding of vehicles on Kuwait City’s roads is causing problems, but said outright her suggestion as regards fees was ‘outrageous’, as many expats simply could not afford them. As regards preventing members of expat families from entering the emirate and increasing visa fees by 100 per cent, the committee stated an unacceptable burden would be placed on the sponsors.

As for her proposed 10-year limit on residency, the official view is that it would lead to a shortage of much-needed expat workers. Given the MP’s insistence that every problem in Kuwait is down to its expat population – on which the emirate depends to a large extent – perhaps it’s time for lawmakers to gently introduce her to the real world.
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