“Instructions were issued by higher leadership not to deport any expatriate who has reached the age of 60 and does not hold a university degree, pending a final decision from the Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) to allow this category of expatriates to renew their work permits,” trusted sources say. While the final decision in this regard is yet to come, PAM, its board of directors and the Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman have all been languishing, without caring about the suffering of thousands who served Kuwait for decades with dedication and sincerity.

However, the cries of this category have been heeded, especially after the negative effect this decision caused on the image of Kuwait globally, and in concurrent with what MP Hamdan Al-Azmi affirmed in the items of his interpellation addressed to the Minister of Commerce a few days ago. The sources explained that all that will be required for this segment of expatriates is to present a health insurance certificate issued by the private sector that preserves their rights to health care and treatment, similar to the practice in most countries of the world. This is aimed to relieve pressure on the government health sector.

They said, “According to the instructions issued recently and communicated to the concerned authorities including PAM and the Ministry of Interior, no one will be deported from Kuwait. This country has been known for decades as a center for humanitarian work, especially with its keenness to embrace workers from all over the world. Whoever has a job opportunity in Kuwait will remain irrespective of whether he is 20, 60 or even 80 years old, provided that he obtains an insurance policy from the private health sector.”

The sources did not hide the fact that there is great dissatisfaction with the higher authorities over the delay and “slowness” in addressing the issue. They stressed that the procrastination of PAM’s management council will be considered as a violation of the instructions of those authorities, and it will be held accountable if the matter is not resolved during the meeting that is to be held today. The sources expressed their surprise over the state of ambivalence, hesitation, confusion and reluctance dominating PAM in a case that is of purely humanitarian nature.

They highlighted that this is happening despite the issuance of the Fatwa and Legislation Department’s decision on October 7 to cancel the decision to ban the issuance of work permits for those who reached 60 years, which confirmed that this decision is void, illegal and unconstitutional, let alone that the one who issued it lacked jurisdiction on the matter. The sources said they believe PAM’s board of directors should have met as soon as it received the “fatwa” memorandum to announce the cancellation of the decision that bans the issuance of the “unjust” work permit, and to replace it with another in order to correct the error, adding, “However, this has not happened so far due to some kind of stubbornness on PAM’s side”.

Meanwhile, MP Fares Al-Otaibi submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman regarding the decision not to renew work permits for those over 60 years old and without high qualifications. He asked, “Why did the minister not adopt the decision, especially since it was issued by the authority’s board of directors via an official circular twice? Who is included in it? Did the minister apply the laws of governance with the authority’s board of directors when the decision was voted on and not issued? What is the legal justification for the minister not to sign the decisions of the board of directors of the authority? – By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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