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Kuwait lawyer looks to ban expatriate drivers

Kuwait city is often gridlocked at rush hour [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 March, 2017

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Expatriates in Kuwait could potentially be banned from driving, after a lawyer has taken up the idea as a case, after complains from Kuwaiti clients tired of traffic jams.

A Kuwaiti lawyer is attempting to ban all expatriates from driving, a move he says will ease traffic congestion in the Gulf state but would affect millions of foreign workers.

Lawyer Mohammed al-Ansari called for a temporary suspension on foreign workers' driving licences and a total ban on new permits for expats.

He filed the lawsuit on behalf of a number of Kuwaiti citizens affected by traffic problems, Ansari told AFP.

"The traffic problem in the country has reached an unbearable phase," said the lawyer.

Ansari said the suspension should stay in force until new regulations are introduced to curb traffic jams, although certain professions should be exempted.

Kuwait has sought to limit the number of expatriates in the country and 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 licence is issued.

Their high number has been criticised 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.

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