Visa and healthcare costs to rise for expats in Kuwait

November 21, 20150 Comments

Expats in Kuwait are facing a rise in costs with visas fees increasing and health care access also set to become more expensive.

The Interior Ministry has approved a proposal to increase expat fees for visas, which will affect those applying for visit and tourist visas, temporary residency, self-sponsorship and familydependency visas. The Interior Ministry’s assistant undersecretary for Nationality and Residency Affairs, Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, also confirmed that the one-month visitor visa that was free will now cost KD30.

The increases mean that a three-month tourist visa will cost KD90 , the family reunion (dependent) visas KD 150 or $497, up from KD100 or $330 and for parents and siblings the visa cost will increase from KD200 or$662 to KD400 or $1,325. The proposed increases have been sent to the legal department before they come into force, probably before the end of the year. He said they are in line with plans to review expat fees in other government departments, like the health ministry.

Sheikh Mazen previously warned that there will no longer be any free services for expats, with increase in fees possible reaching 100% in some cases. Meanwhile, another proposal is likely to see foreign workers banned from getting access to public healthcare services. The Kuwaiti Economics Committee in the Supreme Council for Planning and Development has proposed a two layered alternative health plan for the three million expats residing in Kuwait, which would cause expat annual health insurance fees to triple to not less than KD150 or $493.

At the moment, expats in Kuwait pay an annual health insurance fee of KD50 and get partially subsidised charges for certain procedures, while the country provides free medical services to all citizens.

The council’s plan divides foreigners in Kuwait into two groups; those in the private sector thought to number around two million and one million who work in the public sector. The first group of foreigners will be treated in expat-only hospitals and the other in private hospitals. In 2014 the government established a shareholding company to build three 700-bed hospitals and 15 polyclinics to provide integrated medical services to foreigners in Kuwait.

When the new hospitals are fully established, foreigners will have to purchase the health insurance policy from the same company in order to have access to medical services at the three hospitals, in addition to paying a costly health insurance fee.

Source : Expats Forum

Kuwait News

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