Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of the country’s total population of 4.6 million. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Cairo: Kuwaiti authorities are issuing temporary residency permits for expatriates who are above 60 and hold no university degree as a contested ban on renewing their work permits drags on, a local newspaper said.

With the ban still in force despite a recent decision to scrap it, the Interior Ministry issues residency permits valid from one to three months “on humanitarian grounds” for this category of expatriates pending a final solution from the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM), Al Rai quoted security sources as saying.

The temporary residency permits, however, do not allow foreign holders to travel, the sources noted. “In case of departure from Kuwait, this residency permit will be revoked immediately and the expat will not be able to return,” a source said.

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.

The 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.

The ban was seen as an attempt to reduce numbers of migrant workers who account for majority of Kuwait’s population.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of the country’s total population of 4.6 million.