Kuwait mulls tough new rules for work visas

Visas may soon have to be vetted by five gov't departments as part of plan to reduce number of foreign workers
(Image for illustrative purposes).
By Courtney Trenwith
Sun 24 Mar 2013 02:30 PM

Kuwaiti work visas may soon have to be vetted by five separate government departments as part of a plan to reduce the number of foreign workers and fake visas, local media reported.

A government minister last week announced Kuwait would reduce the number of expats in the country by at least 1m by culling 100,000 annually over the next ten years.

Expats make up about two-thirds of the total population of about 3m.

A report released yesterday by the Supreme Council for Planning and Development showed the percentage of Kuwaitis in the country had fallen from 32.1 percent to 31.7 percent, although it does not indicate over what timeframe this occurred.

The report attributes the decline to more foreigners arriving in the country rather than a declining birth rate among Kuwaitis.

The government had set a target of 35 percent.

Announcing the cull of expats, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Thekra Al-Rasheedi said no new work permits would be approved from April 1. It was not clear whether existing visas would be renewed.

According to Arabic daily Al-Jarida, which quoted a government source, a new committee would be established to help crackdown on fake work visas and to fix loopholes in the present licensing system.

With members from the Migration General Department, Public Authority for Civil Information, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, the committee would ensure better cross-department assessment of an application, Al-Jarida said.

In particular it would make it more difficult to use a fake company on a visa application or to sell on a work permit.

Last Updated: GST

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