Syrian expatriates who have overstayed in Kuwait will be granted long-term residency permits as a way out of legal wrangles.
“Regarding the Syrian nationals who have entered Kuwait through visit visas, but were not able to leave on time, we will grant them long-time visas within the confines of the law,” Abdullah Al Hajiri, the acting head of the General Directorate for Residency Affairs, said. “As for Syrian expatriates whose contracts have ended, but who have not been able to renew their residency permits because they could not renew their expired passports or because they could not present the required documents, we facilitate the administrative procedures for them and grant them special residencies.”
The visa extensions are based on the directives of the country’s leaders and on the appreciation of the general directorate, Al Hajiri said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Anba on Monday.
The Syrian community is believed to be the second largest among the Arabs with around 120,000 members.
Since the start of the armed conflict in Syria in 2011, several Kuwaiti activists have urged the authorities in Kuwait to exercise the highest levels of flexibility with the Syrians, arguing the dramatic situation in their country required granting them a special status.
In May, MP Mansoor Al Dhufairi urged Interior Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid not to deport Syrians who were involved in a street fight.
Kuwait traditionally deports foreigners who are implicated in incidents that disrupt public order.
“We do appreciate the situation, but this is a humanitarian case because of the dramatic events unfolding in Syria,” he said. “We the people of Kuwait have always supported humanitarian cases and we have sided with the people of Syria. We understand the street brawl was caused by adolescents and the deportation of 150 people would result in tragedies for several families and possibly to further violence among them abroad,” he said.
Syria re-opened its embassy in Kuwait this year three years after shutting it down, alongside its diplomatic mission in the Saudi capital Riyadh.