Kuwait cracking down on private sector employers of expat professionals

Published:  5 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, Dubai
In another attempt to accelerate Kuwaitization of its workforce, Kuwaiti private sector companies are to be charged a fee for each expat employee over an allowance of 50 per cent of the workforce.

The announcement by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Social Affairs is likely to affect almost every private sector company, as 90 per cent of the total Kuwaiti workforce is employed in the public sector. The levy will be fixed at $830 per expat employee and is being seen as a tax aimed at reducing the number of expats in the emirate. The move was the latest in a series of changes including a hike in healthcare for foreigners, with politicians demanding expat limits and quotas in an attempts to correct the country’s demographic imbalance.

In addition, Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission is planning to replace expats with Kuwaiti nationals across all professions within five years. Once an expat’s contract is terminated either by a company or via resignation, replacement by another non-Kuwaiti national is to be forbidden. Reappointment of expat professionals may be possible in certain circumstances, but continuing in the same position will be disallowed.

According to sources, expats working within public sector institutions and ministries will not be let go immediately, but will be subject to ‘controlled termination’. Older employees without children still attending secondary school will be the first group to be let go. Employers using expat labour are to be hit by a KD250 work-permit related tax for excess expat workers over and above the limit of 50 per cent of the workforce.

Meanwhile in Dubai, an expat couple have hit the headlines due to their sustainable lifestyle in one on the world’s most sybaritic cities. Environmentalists Denis and Jane Stark zero their own waste, grow their own food, never buy anything packaged using plastic, drink tap water and generally tailor their lives to the needs of the environment. The couple switched their way of life whilst living in Russia and continued after transferring to Dubai, fully aware of the damage being done to the planet by rubbish, plastics and overuse of chemical fertilisers.

Being eco-friendly whilst living in the Middle East would seem to most expats to be a contradiction in terms, but Denis and Jane are proving it can be done without difficulty by simply using common sense, respecting the environment and employing ‘civilised adaptation’. Swapping habits harmful to the environment for a sustainable lifestyle might not be the norm in Dubai but, according to Denis and Jane, it’s the only way forward for the world.
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