As the government pushes for a more homogeneous society – addressing the population imbalance between foreign nationals versus citizens, which is currently at 70-30 respectively, various government bodies are adjusting their procedures and systems to accommodate the direction the national government is headed for.
And while this was initially a matter of manpower allocation, the initiative has now become a restrictive move to help control the entry of expats into the country as the government aims to achieve Kuwaitization within the next five years.
Expats to Pay Additional Fees to Avail Services from Public Hospitals
In line with this, the Ministry of Health had announced that it will be imposing an additional KD 10 for expats who wish to avail services and treatment at public hospitals, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.
According to the ministry, the decision to push with the initiative comes from the need to ease congestion at public hospitals, while allowing government-run clinics to accommodate more patients. As it is, the move also aims to limit treatment in government hospitals only to Kuwaitis, and expats should go to private hospitals or health insurance hospitals.
The ministry also explained that improving its health services and providing quality medications will not be achieved unless the number of patients is reduced, noting that expat patients make up three times that of Kuwaitis.
Furthermore, it was also upon the health ministry’s recommendation to the Cabinet to study the possibility of imposing health insurance on expats so that they can be sent to the private sector, or increasing fees in government hospitals temporarily until the private sector can absorb all expat patients.
The recommendation to increase health fees for expats has been proposed since last year, and there have also been similar proposals to ban expats from public health institutions in Kuwait.
These are not the only restrictions imposed by the government on expats as of late, as there has been an additional expat fees imposed in the country earlier this year.
As it is, the government’s decision to impose additional fees, even on some of the basic services needed by residents (expat or otherwise) can be seen as a big hit to communities, especially of foreign nationals, which make up over 70% of the country’s population today.