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Iqama to be canceled if stay abroad exceeds six months

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The interior ministry on Monday reactivated a rule which stipulates that residents who stay outside Kuwait for more than six months will have their residencies canceled automatically. This rule had been suspended since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It was reinstated for certain categories of expatriates, especially those working in the private sector on article 18 visas.

According to the new decision by the interior ministry, expats holding all types of iqamas must ensure their stay outside Kuwait does not exceed six months, otherwise their residencies will be canceled automatically. The decision states that the rule will now be implemented for holders of article 17 visas (government employees), article 19 visas (craftspeople), article 22 visas (dependents) and article 23 and 24 visas (self-sponsored), as of Aug 1, 2022.

This means that expats holding these residencies who have been outside the country before Aug 1 will have their iqamas canceled if they do not enter the country before Feb 1, 2023. For other types of residencies, the rule applies starting from the day of their exit.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly will hold a special session on Tuesday to debate the state budget for the 2022/2023 fiscal year, which has been delayed for several months because of the elections. According to the budget, which was revised by the previous Assembly, revenues are estimated at KD 23.4 billion, while expenditures are projected at KD 23.1 billion, leaving a projected surplus of KD 300 million, the first surplus since the 2015/2016 fiscal year. Oil income is estimated at KD 21.3 billion, while non-oil income is estimated at KD 2.1 billion.

Also, MP Majed Al-Mutairi submitted a number of proposals aimed at improving the living standards of Kuwaiti citizens. He called for increasing the cost-of-living allowance to KD 240 per month and for raising the child allowance from KD 50 to KD 100 per month per child. He also called for reducing the housing instalments paid by citizens by 10 percent and raising student stipends to KD 350 monthly.

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