Sunday, 25 August 2019 04:51 GMT

Kuwait - O Minister of Interior Why such an angry face with every visa request?

(MENAFN - Arab Times)
Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

A COUPLE of days ago, the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that it will grant gold cards. According to the tweet of Vice-President
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid: 'Permanent residency will be granted to investors
and exceptional workers in health, engineering, science and art. The first batch includes 6,800 investors with
a total investment of AED100 billion.'

Some days earlier, the Saudi
Council of Consultants approved the 'distinguished residency' system which is
not different from what has been approved by the UAE.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia opened
its doors to investors from all over the world a few years ago without the need
for a Saudi sponsor. In the UAE, there
are free zones for this purpose. They
also allow investors to hire the workers they need, away from complications
such as age and questions like the names of their mothers and aunts and other
outdated procedures that are still enforced in Kuwait.

A similar system was implemented
in Bahrain some years ago. It turned the
small kingdom into an international financial center, thanks to the off-shore
system. All these support the economy of
other Gulf countries which constitute the GCC along with Kuwait. GCC summits approved a number of
comprehensive agreements; yet we, in Kuwait, are still working according to the
systems of the 1960s and 1970s.
Moreover, we see a decision being taken every day to close the doors to
any investor by adding more conditions imposed by different ministries.

In this context, I would like to
ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior about the security
obsession which controls decisions in your ministry more than in any other
country. Despite the difficult security
challenges that Saudi Arabia is facing; it approved flexible laws, issued
decisions and enforced systems which opened the gates to diversification of the
economy. The same steps have been taken
by the UAE although it is facing security challenges which are more difficult than
what Kuwait is facing.

Whoever decides to visit Kuwait will encounter all kinds of obstacles,
starting from the issuance of visa that resembles a police operation. In many cases, it is subject to the personal
mood of the person reviewing the application and it is up to him to simply
dismiss the request.

In other countries, whoever
possesses money to cover his stay in the host country receives the visa. On the other side, this process has become an
evil trade which negatively affects the economy. It has become the most common reason behind
the flight of investors.

We need to take a look at
international reports classifying Kuwait as an investment repellant State. In 2009, Kuwait did not attract any investor
at all. What was the reason then?

Minister of Interior, you have to
study what is happening in neighboring countries, especially in terms of
enhancing openness to the world. You
have to watch the giant strides they have taken in the diversification of
wealth sources. The ministries of interior
in those countries, which are in charge of the issuance of visas and residence
permits, always take the initiative in making dreams come true; but this is not
the case in Kuwait. It seems we are
going to Hajj at a time others are coming back.
Why all this complication?

Many countries facilitate
residency procedures like specifying the amount of money in the bank account in
order to obtain permanent residency or even citizenship. In Kuwait, the relatively flexible residency
procedures are being turned into restrictions.
Do you believe that those coming to Kuwait are criminals keen on
destroying the demographic balance?

How can Kuwait transform into an
international financial and commercial center and develop the Silk City and
islands if it fends off all people? If
it is true that public sector employees must be Kuwaitis, how the complications
in the private sector will be justified?
Is this the way to transform Kuwait into an international financial and
commercial center?

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and other
countries supported security and enforced laws on everybody. They also opened the doors to everybody in
order to bolster the economy. In Kuwait,
the offices of senior officials are closed to the public. Whoever applies for a visa is received by an
angry face.

It was reported that one day,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid witnessed overcrowding in a service center. He immediately dismissed the responsible
person and ordered removal of the doors of offices so they are open to the
public. This happened while we see
closed doors and angry faces in Kuwait.

O Minister of Interior, are we
going to see you one day removing doors and facilitating completion of
transactions for those who look forward to visiting Kuwait? Or will you remain afraid of the reaction of
the MP keen on serving personal interests by raising slogans without taking any
practical step? Is anybody listening or
somebody is deaf?

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

the Arab Times


Kuwait - O Minister of Interior Why such an angry face with every visa request?

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