By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Manpower yesterday approved the renewal of work permits of residents aged over 60 years without a university degree for KD 250, in addition to private health insurance, during a meeting chaired by Justice Minister Jamal Al-Jalawi. The decision is reviewable after one year. The law, which was supposed to be implemented in January 2021, was passed in 2020, but suspended due to fierce opposition by individuals and many groups here.
Nanay Vera said she has been extending her residency for the past six months, which caused her great anxiety. “I cannot sleep because I never had any problem with my documents in Kuwait. Now it is killing me. I do not want to go home because I am still young. I can work and I don’t have any health problems,” she said. “I don’t want them to think I am no longer capable of working,” she said.
Vera works as a restaurant supervisor at a family business in Fahaheel. “I’ve experienced wars and the pandemic here in Kuwait. I ended up having no partner in life – no husband, no kids – because of my work in Kuwait. I stayed focused and didn’t want to bother anyone. Two years back I heard about this law and have been constantly stressed. But I hope Kuwait reconsiders the decision, as it’s unfair and discriminatory. I will go back home if they won’t renew my visa,” she added.
Since the decision was imposed in 2020, many non-degree holders left the country for good. Nonetheless, many residents who raised their families here were still hoping for a miracle, which came true yesterday with the PAM announcement.
Renan said he was ready to go home before the new rule was announced. “I have grandchildren whom I am trying to help. I want to stay for at least two more years,” he said. Renan used to work as driver for a food company, but when the company cut its staff, he was included in the retrenchment. “I bought a driver’s visa and continued to work for the past 10 years. Now I am 61 years old. My visa expired in September 2021 and I am here on extensions only. I hope the new visa rule is final, as I am not ready yet to go back home for good. KD 250 is reasonable, but not more than that,” he said. Renan makes KD 400 in his private transport job.
When the ban was in force, the interior ministry issued temporary residency permits valid from one to three months ‘on humanitarian grounds’ for this category of expatriates pending a final solution from PAM.