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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Expats in Kuwait will not lose subsidised fuel

The National Assembly in Kuwait has voted against scrapping petrol subsidies for expatriates in the country, which would have seen foreigners pay more for fuel than locals.

Eight independent MPs had put the idea forward as a way to help the government cut down on the six billion to 12 billion Kuwaiti dinar (£14 billion to £28 billion) spent on subsidies each year.

They also suggested that an increase in the price of fuel and vehicle registration for this demographic would help to reduce traffic congestion.

All residents of the country receive subsidised services such as fuel, electricity and water, but in an attempt to cut a million expats in ten years, these are being threatened.

When it came to the ballot, everyone apart from the independent MPs voted for expats to pay the same price for fuel as locals.

Adnan Abdulsamad, a leading Shi'ite MP, said that many decided not to back the motion as it suggested that expats are the sole contributors to traffic problems in Kuwait.

He told the Kuwait Times: "This is incorrect. Expatriates are a part of the problem and not the whole problem. We blame expatriates for many problems. Kuwaitis also have too many cars and we are also a part of the problem."

Mr Abdulsamad also highlighted the fact that expats are being charged school fees, residence fees and health insurance fees, which could lead to them sending their families back to their countries of origin with just bachelors remaining behind.

Of the three million people that live in Kuwait, around two-thirds are expats drawn to the country due to lucrative job opportunities created by its large oil reserves.

In a bid to allow local people more of a chance at landing such roles, the government believes it needs to rely on fewer expats.

Further proposals being considered by the National Assembly to achieve this aim include reorganising the medical services available so that they are segregated.

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