Kuwait lawyer seeks driving ban for expats
A Kuwaiti lawyer filed a lawsuit Monday seeking a temporary driving ban on millions of expatriates to ease traffic congestion in the oil-rich Gulf state. Lawyer Mohammad al-Ansari called for a temporary suspension of their driving licences and a total ban on issuing new licences for expats. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of a number of Kuwaiti citizens affected by traffic problems, Ansari told AFP in a written statement.
“The traffic problem in the country has reached an unbearable phase,” said the lawyer, adding that the government had failed to resolve it. Ansari said the suspension should stay in force until new regulations are introduced to curb traffic jams, although certain professions should be exempted. Around 3.1 million foreigners, most of them Asians, live and work in Kuwait alongside 1.35 million citizens. For the past decade, authorities have imposed very strict rules on expatriates to obtain a driver’s licence. Most foreigners are required to hold a university degree, earn 600 dinars ($2,000) a month and have lived legally in the emirate for at least two years before a license is issued. Their high number has been criticized by lawmakers and activists, with several MPs calling for it to be lowered to the same level as Kuwaiti citizens within five years. Others have called for taxes to be slapped on their money transfers out of Kuwait.