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).

(Image for illustrative purposes).

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.

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Posted by: RAH

The UK is considering following Australia's system of border control: foreigner visitors from 'high risk' nations (i.e. the poor countries of the world) will need to pay a bond to be granted entry, to ensure the foreigner leaves. (see Reuters March 22, 2012 news report)

Will you Euro/Australian readers commentators regard this as normal whilst Kuwait's action to be backward, stupid and discrimanatory still? If you do, then your biased POV should be kept to yourselves.

Posted by: Khulood

Why everyone overacts to this move? Quoted "a new committee would be established to help crackdown on fake work visas...etc". The Kuwaiti action didn't actually invent the wheel. Combating illegal expats are practiced everywhere. The US (a role model) impound the wretched Mexicans year round with the most inhuman way where they are treated like criminals with their hands shackled. Those poor illegal workers made their Christmas bacon and do the most dangerous job- meat packing. So Kuwaitis vet and cull their expats, perhaps, they are looking for quality rather than quantity. That bends to their well! Surly there are many jobs that don't need genius, which can be replaced by locals or yet disfranchised ones. A diverse environment is still needed when the right amount of equal oppertunities present for the patriots.

Wish all nations of the world can suffice themselves without going expat or else resourceful genius expats need appreciation from other counterpart states.

Posted by: Anonymous

I have lived in Kuwait my entire life, my ancestors were the first to write the history of Kuwait, and yet I am not Kuwaiti. By law, I cannot be, even though I've attended both public and private schools in Kuwait, speak the language as fluently as any Kuwaiti, and embraced its culture as my own. It is sad news to the new expat generation of kids who've known Kuwait to be their home only to be turned away.

Posted by: procan

With the few remaining Canadians being expelled, kicked out ,terminated or just leaving Kuwait, there will be no need to keep a Embassy or Consulate in in the tiny desert county. Thanks for the visit Kuwait see you at the oylimpics .

Posted by: Nasir

You forgot to mention that the costs are also 10 times higher in Kuwait, any which ways, good thought process, I LIKE IT. I wonder if US, Canada, Britain became 1st world countries using the same thought process. My friend, we are proud of our country and the competitive man power that it creates and exports with the likes of US, CAN. UK, the Arab countries - all cuing up for them, I wonder what added value would an expat kuwaiti bring on to the table. Rest assured, these people will leave Kuwait for a brighter future, in the mean time, Kuwaitis would need to train to wash their own dishes as is the case in the rest of the world.

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