By Ed Attwood
Ban is in place until further notice in latest crackdown on foreign workers in Gulf state
Kuwait has implemented on a freeze on issuing new driving licences for expatriates until further notice, in the latest crackdown on foreign workers in the country.
The announcement was made by Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Major General Abdulfattah Al Ali, who said that the only exceptions would be for household drivers on specific visas, the Kuwait Times daily reported.
Al Ali told the newspaper that the ban would remain in place until changes are made to the current regulations for expatriates to obtain new driving licences.
Since Ali’s appointment two months ago, hundreds of expats have been deported for minor traffic violations such as jumping red lights.
It is estimated that 12,000 foreigners in total have been ejected from the country over the last two years over driving misdemeanours and KD24m worth of fines issued.
Kuwaiti citizens who commit similar offences face having their cars impounded, although this can only take place if a court order is issued.
In a further development, the Al Jarida newspaper reported on Sunday that 313 expatriate teachers had had their contracts terminated after reaching the age of 60. This move has come despite a new law introduced by the Civil Services Commission in April that increase the age of retirement for citizens and locals working in the public sector up to 65.
Kuwait earlier this year announced the Gulf state would cut the number of foreigners, who make up about two-thirds of the population, by 1m over ten years.
The country also is implementing segregation in public health services, banning expats from attending public hospitals in the morning unless it is an emergency.
Lawmakers also have called for large subsidies for services such as water, electricity and gas to be scrapped for expats, which could push up monthly bills beyond the average salary.
Kuwait was named as one of the world's least friendly countries towards tourists in a global travel and tourism competitiveness survey by the World Economic Forum released this week.
It was ranked 137 out of 140 countries for friendliness.
This picture isn't from Kuwait. The buses aren't nearly that nice.
If Kuwait is to sieze the issuance of driver's licences to expats and curb the amount of cars on the roads, then Kuwait needs to upgrade their transportation systems like any other country. A metro project is sorely needed in this nation, but this project would take time to build, so the immediate overhaul and upgrade of the buses in Kuwait should be implemented. As 123 eluded above, the buses in Kuwait are horrendous and do not offer an adequate alternative to driving cars, but I fear what Kuwait will face is a large amount of expats driving illegally because of the lack of a proper transporation alternative. Kuwait should analyze the reprocussions of their actions and find positive solutions to their problems before initiating such legislation.
"minor traffic violations such as jumping red lights"?????? Is the writer of this article mad? If that is a minor traffic violation then what's a major traffic violation? Driving into a group of people on purpose?
So stop issuing licence to 16 yr olds and raise it to 21 with 2 yrs probation for new drivers so if your convicted of traffic offences in that time take it away permantly
Also ensure new drivers display a r restricted badge which limits their speed to 100kmh
This is pure racism and yet the country issues 25000 tickets in a week what percentage were Kuwaiti v expat
Get real and deal with it properly
The best solution is to issue more licences to Kuwaitis and make them drive taxis. Otherwise who will drive the public transport?
This will cut down illegal cabbies with "Ph.D"s.
Be careful what you wish for......
Just when we thought the whole world was moving towards globalization, Arab world decided to pull-back.
I had made a decision never to travel to or transit through Saudi Arabia, because I feel it is an uncivilised country, after reading this article I have added Kuwait to my list.