Kuwait mulls law to allow self-sponsorship for expats

Move under review may only apply to those with available funds of at least $36,000
Kuwait mulls law to allow self-sponsorship for expats
The amendment to the current law has been proposed by Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour
By Shane McGinley
Wed 28 Dec 2011 11:26 AM

Expatriates in Kuwait may soon be allowed to apply for self-sponsorship, provided they possess a minimum of around $36,000 in their bank account, it was reported on Tuesday.

The amendment to the current law has been proposed by Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MSAL).

According to the proposal, an individual or group of expatriates could be allowed to apply for sponsorship, provided they have a bank account containing at least KD10,000 ($35,925).

In addition to the bank account stipulation, any expatriate applying for sponsorship must have been in business or a partner in a Kuwait firm for at least two years, The Kuwait Times newspaper reported.

The proposal was first raised in 2005 as a draft law and is now being studied by the labour ministry.

The move was condemned by a Kuwaiti employer who said the high amount would attract the wrong kind of applicants.

"There are some nationals who are crooked or maybe some people will acquire visas and then commit crime. Since they are not controlled by any company owner, they can easily commit crimes and leave the country. What is the assurance that erring workers can be asked to answer for their crimes?" the local owner was quoted as saying in the report.

The move comes as surprise as it was reported in August Kuwait was to suspend commercial visit visas in a bid to curb a rise in expatriate workers.

“It is important to realise across the GCC states there is a national security concern about expat labour,” said Theodore Karasik, director of research at Dubai’s Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“Kuwait is in a very interesting situation because of what is going on in Syria and the Arab Spring. Seeing what happened in Bahrain, they don’t want that happening in their own country.

“We have seen a number of attempts by the GCC states to alter their visa systems on very short notice. Many times this is done because of security, but also because of seeking new methods to halt the flow of particular individuals in and out of countries,” he added.

A number of Gulf states have tightened their border security in the wake of the Arab Spring revolts that toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, and caused widespread unrest in Bahrain.

Kuwait in May barred nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan from entering the country over fears political instability in those nations could pose a risk to its security.

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