Kuwaitization in full flood with new expat fees and restrictions

Published:  1 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas
As a further step towards Kuwaitization of the workforce, Kuwait lawmakers have imposed a swingeing fee for expat dependants joining family members working in the private sector.

Expats wishing to have their families join them in Kuwait will be charged $992 per dependant, with the payment inclusive of a temporary visit visa change of KD30 and a temporary resident permit charge of KD20. The aim of the new fee, due to become law in June, is to encourage foreign workers to leave, thus increasing the number of private sector job vacancies for Kuwaiti nationals.

According to a government spokesperson, the demographic imbalance in the emirate is still growing, with lawmakers busy making it even harder for foreign workers to stay. One measure underway is aimed at reducing by 50 per cent the number of domestic helper visas able to be applied for by employees and limiting expat labourers’ stays to a maximum of 10 or 20 years before forcing them to leave. Other measures include cutting the annual numbers of employer-generated visas and doubling fines for residency violations.

Other lawmakers are urging the government to remove expats’ rights to change employers a part of a total reorganisation of the emirate’s labour market. In addition, Kuwaiti MPs have now voted in agreement with a law which will hike expatriate healthcare charges by 500 per cent as well as forcing all foreigners entering Kuwait on visitors’ visas to take out pricey private healthcare insurance. It’s been suggested that elderly foreigners enter the emirate on visitors’ visas simply to take advantage of the ‘almost free’ medical service fees.
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