Some work visa applications in Kuwait are already being refused a week before a freeze is due to be implemented because staff are confused over the new rules, local media reported.
The Gulf country last week announced it would cut the number of expatriates from more than 2m to 1m by 2023, culling the figure by 100,000 each year.
The tiny oil-rich nation relies on expats for much of its workforce, with only a little more than 1m nationals across the entire population.
Under its new plan, work visas would not be processed from April 1, although it was not clear whether that applied only to new visas or also included renewals.
The announcement has seen a surge in work visa applications, with large crowds of people with commercial visit visas queuing up at processing offices in an attempt to transfer their paperwork to a work visa, which would allow them to stay in the country longer, before the cut-off date, Kuwaiti Times reported.
However, the newspaper reported on Tuesday some staff in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, which is responsible for processing visas, already had begun rejecting transfer requests because they were confused over the new rules.
Assistant undersecretary for labor sector affairs Jamal Al-Doussari said applications would continue to be processed until Monday.