Residency in Kuwait has been an embattled uphill climb for many expats ever since the nationalisation programme was conceived in 2017. And while this may appear like an outright attack on foreign nationals, most of whom have been living in the Gulf State for many years already, the truth of the matter is, there is so much room for improvement when it comes to policy-making with regards to Kuwaiti laws.
And as the government pushes for these new measures to address many long-standing issues involving immigration, labour, and residency, the main challenge for expats in Kuwait right now is simply to cope with the changes.
Expats Filing for Residence Transfers to Undergo Mandatory Tests
In regard to this, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) is determined to stamp out trafficking in residence permits and will go after people who take advantage of loopholes to recruit expatriates in more than 20 professions and occupations by 2020, as shared in a report by the Arab Times Online.
According to reports, each visa is sold for more than KD 1,500 depending on the nationality of the applicant.
Because of this, PAM has taken a series of regulatory decisions for expatriate workers residing in the country, especially those working in technical professions and other similar occupations, in order to regulate the process involving the release of residence permits, as well as to protect the expats against these illegal entities that profit from them.
As per the Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al- Aqeel, PAM has already put in place controls to initiate change in professions, leading eventually to put an end to what is known as ‘residence trade.’
The minister explained that PAM has developed and is soon to implement mandatory tests for 20 professions if the worker wants to change from one profession to another, in order to obtain a residence permit to stay in the country.
Al-Aqeel noted that the mandatory tests will be for car mechanics, electricians, security and safety supervisors, sanitary workers, technical surveyors, aluminum technicians, welders, lathe technicians, advertising agents, sales representatives, irrigation technicians, steel fixers, carpenters, construction carpenters, asphalt laboratory technician, purchasing officers, accountants, librarians, legal counsels and legal clerks.
The minister explained that if the worker wishes to change his/her academic qualifications, they will have to leave the country and return with a new work permit in accordance with the scientific qualifications they wish to work under. Minister Al-Aqeel pointed out that all these measures will be positive in the direction of regulating the labour market and limiting if not completely ending the visa trafficking problem in the state.