Under Kuwaiti laws, banks and foreign exchange offices are banned from conducting transfers without a valid civil ID card. Image Credit: File photo

Cairo: With a disputed ban on renewing work permits for them not finally scrapped, expatriates in Kuwait above 60 who don’t hold university degree face the prospect of having no access to their bank accounts, according to a local media report.

Access to such accounts is linked to holding a valid civil ID card. That said, banks in Kuwait will find themselves obliged to suspend such customers’ banking cards once the validity of their identification cards expired, Al Rai newspaper said.

As a result, the customer belonging to this category will have no access to the personal bank account and as such will not be able to conduct deposit or withdrawal operations, the paper said.

Consequently, they will be unable to transfer money to their families outside Kuwait.

The paper warned that freezing those expatriates’ ability to transfer money could play into the hands of black marketeers and prompt turning to illegal methods, thus countering efforts combating money laundry and terror financing.

Under Kuwaiti laws, banks and foreign exchange offices are banned from conducting transfers without a valid civil ID card.

Last October, the Kuwaiti Legal Advice and Legislation Department invalidated the ban on employing expatriates above 60, saying it had no legal basis.

The department, a Cabinet affiliate, said that the ban had been issued by the PAM director-general without authorisation.

The PAM board later under chairmanship of Minister of Trade and Industry Abdullah Al Salman and approved revocation of the ban and endorsed a new renewal system.

Some categories of people will be exempted from paying the renewal fees, Kuwaiti media reported at the time. They are children of Kuwaiti women and their husbands, holders of the Palestinian nationality, and those born in Kuwait. No clear date has been set for enforcing the new system that also includes obligatory health insurance.

The controversial ban, which went into effect earlier this year, triggered an outcry among rights activists, who argued that it affects thousands of expatriates and their families who long lived in Kuwait.

Around 4,013 such expatriates have been forced out of the work market in Kuwait in the first six months of enforcing the ban, Al Qabas newspaper reported recently.

Critics also said the restriction has also caused damage to many employers and destabilised the labour market, robbing it of experienced workers.