KUWAIT – New Rules Limit Residence of Dependent Family Members
Effective immediately, the Kuwaiti authorities have ceased issuing new residence permits (Iqamas) for sponsored dependent family members, other than spouses and children. Current dependent residence permit holders are allowed in some cases to renew their residence.
New Residence Renewal Rules
Under the new rules, any dependent family member wishing to renew their dependent residence permit in Kuwait must buy government insurance at KWD 250 per person year, as well as private insurance at KWD 300 per person per year. Male children are allowed to renew their existing residence under their parent’s sponsorship until the age of 17, and this can be extended while they are enrolled at a local university. Unmarried female children under the age of 24 can renew their residence. For parents or siblings over the age of 65, new prices for mandatory medical insurance have been discussed but not yet decided or implemented.
The change is part of an ongoing attempt by the government to deal with the burgeoning expat population in Kuwait, which is purportedly straining local housing supplies and public services like the healthcare system.
Recent figures from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) indicate that 2.7 million foreign nationals currently reside in Kuwait, constituting 70 percent of the nation’s total population.
Over 90 percent of private sector jobs are performed by foreign nationals. However, over the last 12 years, there has been a significant increase in unemployed foreign nationals, which has put a strain on the availability of housing and public services.
In October of last year, the MOI also implemented a controversial higher minimum salary requirement for foreign nationals to sponsor dependent family members (including spouses and children) also designed to reduce the number of non-working foreign nationals.
Current dependent residence permit holders wishing to renew their residence should check that they met the new requirements. Kuwaiti residents intending to sponsor their parents or siblings for new Kuwaiti residence permits should note that this is not currently possible. Those who may be affected should contact an immigration specialist to check the latest situation.