A total of 22 ailments will make foreigners ineligible to apply for permanent residence in Kuwait, Arab Times said, quoting Al-Watan e-newspaper.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health released a list of the 22 diseases that will make people lose eligibility for permanent residence.
The Assistant Undersecretary for General Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health, Majida Al Qattan, confirmed the news saying it comes in line with a GCC council decision which dates back to 2001. Although this move is expected to be criticized, she explained the main aim was to reduce the costs of expat healthcare on the Treasury and ensure expats arriving in the country are fit to work.
Illnesses featured on the list include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, renal failure, vision problems, squinting, and tens of others.
Prior to this release, Kuwait did bar people with infectious diseases from entering or leaving the country in line with international laws. Those diseases include AIDS, Herpes, Hepatitis B and G, Malaria, Leprosy, Syphilis, Tuberculosis, and Gonorrhea. However, it is not clear whether the new ban is applicable to those who are already working in the country or it is applicable to new arrivals but it is the first time the country bans people with non-infectious illnesses from entering.
By including non-infectious diseases in the list of ailments subject to restrictions, sources say the recent move is expected to receive criticism from international human rights organizations.
The source added that the list now being implemented was introduced eight years ago but was not approved until earlier this year.
In October 2017, Kuwait increased all public health fees for expats for the first time in two decades. The fee hike came as lawmakers argued that the country’s oil revenues are declining, it could no longer afford to provide low-cost or free health care to expatriates.
Some also said that given that 70 percent of the country’s population is made up of expatiates, the move would help reduce the load on its health services.
Even though the move is still being applied, Kuwait’s Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah, said the increased health fees are now being reassessed “as they were imposed based upon a government proposal not a parliamentary one.”