Kuwait: New Residency Law Finalised

Kuwait News developments

Kuwait: New Residency Law Finalised

Kuwait Times, 2 December 2023: The Kuwaiti government has announced it has finalised a new residency law. It will refer the law to the Interior and Defence Committees of the country’s National Assembly to consider. It is then expected to be approved by the National Assembly by the end of the year.

The law specifies the regulations for foreigners’ entry, deportation, iqama trade and penalties.

It also grants Kuwaiti women married to foreigners the right to sponsor their husbands and children, provided they haven’t obtained nationality under Article 8 of the new law., This provision relates to expatriate women naturalised by marrying Kuwaiti citizens. In addition, it authorises hotels and aparthotels to report the residence of foreigners.

A Ministerial Decision will determine fees for residency permits, renewals and all entry visas.

The law prohibits iqama trade through exploitation and imposes penalties of up to three years in jail and a fine of between 5,000 and 10,000 Dinars on violators. Only the country’s Public Prosecution will be able to issue residency trade pardons.

Domestic worker amendments mean domestic workers will be allowed to have regular residency permits for the duration of their contract period. If a domestic worker’s permit is cancelled when they leave the job, they must leave Kuwait within the specified timeframes unless a new residency is obtained.

To transfer the domestic worker’s permit, the employer must give their approval and the worker cannot stay outside Kuwait for more than four months without permission from the Interior Ministry.

The Interior Minister will be able to deport foreigners, even if they have residency permits, on public interest, general security, public morality or lack of a legal source of income grounds.

Deportation decisions may include dependents and the deportee can be jailed for up to 30 days. This can be extended if required.

The Interior Minister can exempt deported foreigners from fines after they have left Kuwait. Heads of state, members of the diplomatic corps and official employees are exempt from the law. Foreigners will be able to stay for up to three months. This can be extended for up to a year.

Foreigners can also stay in Kuwait for five years, while children of Kuwaiti women and real estate owners can stay for 10 years and investors may be granted residency permits for 15 years.

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Tanya Jain