The New Visa Fees Structure - what you need to know

Dear Expats,

Yes, the rumors turned out to be true, the new visa fees structure has been approved and is now pending implementation by the legal authorities. The table can be found (here).

Now, what does this mean? Let's analyze it shall we.

Firstly, all Westerners are technically "exempt" from this fee structure, as their visa is on arrival, and will continue to be either 3KD or 9KD for 3 months. They will only be hit with the increase in fees of dependent visas (children forthcoming) and maids (if required).

So who is the primary target of this fee increase.

Let's agree that Kuwait is compromised mostly of expats from non-western countries. There are close to 2 million of us, and given falling oil prices, we are now seen as walking ATMs. *insert picture of someone held by their ankles for the change to fall out of their pockets here*

Who will be worst hit by this; teachers, salespeople, blue collar workers, anyone earning below 600KD. Imagine the following scenario - a male teacher in public/private (not English/American) school in Kuwait is married with children. his wife is back home, and once a year he brings her and the kids to visit. Previously this was free. Now it will cost 90KD per person for a visit visa for 3 months, so assuming the family is made up of 3 abroad, that's a staggering 3*90=180, for 3 months, and their monthly salary is probably in the range of 400-600 (speculation).

For comparisons sake, the tourist visa for Kuwait is now 90KD for 3 months. a visit visa to Turkey costs 18KD, and a 5-year visa to the USA costs around 50KD.

Now, you can tell what the govt is trying to prevent by seeing the NOMINAL increase; i.e. not the percentage amount. Almost everything increased by 100%, especially the last two categories - Parents & Siblings. Yes you are allowed to sponsor parents and siblings to come to Kuwait - however as we know previously, this was frowned upon as it was seen that these persons would take advantage of Kuwait's healthcare system and come in for 15,000KD treatment and only pay 50KD. So the fees for that increased by 100%, but instead of being 200, they are now 400.

The motive behind the move can be dual:

1) Prevent people from bringing in family to visit Kuwait - thereby "alleviate" the traffic problem.

2) Cause distress to the point where persons working in Kuwait find it no longer viable to maintain a long distance relationship with their spouse, resulting in their turning to either:

a) illicit relationships (aka flesh trade as mentioned by Arab Times - and yes I am aware of incidents where married men working in Kuwait marry another woman for "comfort" whilst abroad, with the knowledge of their first wives - its abhorrent but it happens).

b) decide to leave altogether, thereby "alleviating" traffic and congestion in Kuwait.

Remember, a few short years ago the goal was to deport 1,000,000 expats in 10 years. If you look at the full picture, everything becomes clearer.

Do you agree with this analysis? Do you disagree? Do you agree with the increased fees? Do you disagree? Do you just want to grab a donut and a coffee and call it a day?

Sound off.

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