Kuwaiti MP urges exit visas for expats

Published:  20 Oct at 6 PM
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As Kuwait’s government and lawmakers continue proposing and introducing measures hostile to foreigners working in the emirate, a law is being introduced requiring exit visas for all expats.

Kuwaiti MP Waleed al Tabtabaei has proposed a measure imposing exit visas for all foreign workers intending to leave the emirate. The law, if adopted, would forbid expats working in the private sector from leaving unless they are granted approval by their sponsors and have received a special permit from the public manpower authority. It’s expected the rule would give even more power to consolidate sponsors’ control over foreign employees.

Exit visas are already required from expats planning to leave Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with Kuwait at present one of the most liberal Gulf States as regards expat freedom of travel. In the past, sponsors were known to confiscate expat employees’ passports until a court ruling barred the practice. Reintroducing the requirement for exit visas is likely to re-establish the activity. At the present time, expatriates working in the government sector are already subject to exit permit regulations.

Al Tabtabaie’s proposal is the latest anti-expat action in a series of similar calls against foreigners, with increasing charges for electricity, water and healthcare already on the books. Many more are expected to be introduced, including five per cent taxes on remittances and Kd1,200 taxes on driving licenses. Recently elected female MP Sala al Hashem and her group are pushing for increased laws against expats in an attempt to reduce the demographic balance between Kuwaiti nationals and foreign workers.

Meanwhile in Dubai, an American Moslem woman staying in one of the city’s luxury hotels was told to leave the hotel pool as she was wearing a ‘loose-fitting’ burkini. She’d been the subject of a complaint by another of the hotel’s residents, and was reported as being disturbed by the incident. She told Arab News she’d worn the burkini for reasons of modesty, and had arranged for it to be customised to her size and shape when she bought it. She’s furious that she was being criticised for wearing a modest swimming costume in line with her Moslem beliefs.
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