Release of Visa Ban, an Unanswered Question, a news which every Pakistani is waiting anxiously. It has been years since all types of Visas for Pakistani Nationals are ban in Kuwait, the visa was banned due to the security condition in Pakistan, since the new Political Government came into power and since the catch of OBL the security concern related to Pakistan are on high levels, but do all these issues either with the Pakistani government policies or its security agencies operations against terrorists, has anything to do with the common Pakistani who is working abroad to earn the daily bread & butter for his family?
Pakistanis are living as expats around the world and doing a great contribution towards the social & economic development of many countries, including gulf states, since the establishment of these states in Gulf, Pakistanis were among the first nations who migrated to these states in order to earn better lives & they played significant role in the development for economic infrastructures, as mostly skilled labors are from Pakistan, who are not just hard working, but very cost effective as well, despite the hard working environments, harsh weathers and unpopular labor laws & extensive regulations, Pakistanis are working since decades in these countries, over 1.5 millions are working in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and over a million are working in UAE (United Arab Emirates), in Kuwait there are around 130,000 Pakistanis and most of them are here since early 70’s, therefore, they played a vital role in the development of this small but rich Arab State, Kuwait.
Since the ban of Visa for Pakistani Nationals in Kuwait, we heard and seen hundred of heartrending stories in the public & social medias regarding Pakistani Nationals who are seeking visa for their beloved ones, visiting concerned visa departments almost every day, there are newly married couples who wish to be together, there are spouses with new born children waiting impatiently for family reunion. There is a Pakistani church whose congregation has been waiting for a Pakistani pastor for the past two years; it is a never ending story full of sorrows, tears & disappointments. The Immigration & Passport Office of Kuwait refuses to accept applications for any type of visa, it is said that the power of issuance of visa rests only in the hands of the Minister of Interior Affairs.
Despite the social & emotional impact on Pakistani community due to separation of families, there is also an economical & skilled human resource impact on the Kuwait economy as well, because the highly qualified & skilled people has number of opportunities in other countries mostly in Europe, Australia & Canada, who are highly welcome states for expats and these states offers not only opportunity to earn foreign reserves, but also they offers comprehensive immigration & citizenship benefits, which none of the Gulf States are offering, neither they have any plan to do so in the near future, therefore, the skilled & qualified people has already started shifting to these countries which have friendly labor laws and more relaxed & benefits based immigration & citizenship programs for various trades both for skilled & semi skilled labors.
Now as a result of this ban and tough labor laws, only the semi skilled and unqualified people will be stuck here, who were neither living with their families earlier, nor they can afford to bring them now, due to very expensive living in Kuwait, especially the residential expenses & family Iqama related expenses which they can hardly think of pay every year, so as a result of it, the most qualified & skilled labor will start shifting either to other gulf states such as UAE/Bahrain & KSA or most likely to Europe, Australia & Canada sides.
We as a Pakistani & as a law abiding residents of Kuwait, wish that not only the Pakistani Government plays its role to address this burning issue at every possible diplomatic levels and resolve it impeccably, because this issue is not only affecting human lives, but also affecting the social & economic development of both the countries and we also wish to bring attention of Kuwait Government to consider it on priority, keeping in view the upcoming development projects worth billions of Kuwaiti Dinars, where they can use the skills of highly qualified & trained people, who are not just brilliant, hard working & cost effective, but also share the same cultural & religious values as our fellow Muslim brothers & sisters of Kuwait.