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Sun 14 Aug 2011 12:58 PM

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Kuwait to suspend commercial visit visas from Sept 1

Minister says move aimed to clamp down on increase in expat workers in Arab Gulf state

Kuwait to suspend commercial visit visas from Sept 1
In May, Kuwait banned nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan from entering the country

Kuwait will temporarily suspend the processing of commercial visit visas in a bid to clamp down on the increase in expatriate workers in the Gulf State, according to a report on Saturday.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour's decision will take effect from September 1, Kuwaiti labour minister Dr Mohammad Al Afasi said at a recent Iftar gathering, the Al-Shahed Arabic daily newspaper said.

The report said the Ministry had noticed a significant number of expatriates remaining in the country and transferring the visitor visas into work permits. This has resulted in a surge in the number of ‘marginal’ expatriate workers, the report added.

The Ministry will suspend the issuance of such visas in order to review how the system is being operated.

The review is designed to curb the imbalance between locals and expatriate workers and the suspension will be lifted once new policies and rules have been decided upon, the report said.

In May, Kuwait banned nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan from entering the country over fears political unrest in those nations could pose a risk to the Gulf state’s security.

The blacklist included trade, tourism and visit visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses, immigration sources quoted by Kuwait media said.

The Gulf state’s move was attributed to the “difficult security conditions in the five countries” and the increased risk of nationals bringing over relatives to escape arrest in their home country, immigration sources said.

A number of Gulf states have tightened border security in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts that have spread across the Middle East.

 

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