Kuwait mulls cancellation of sponsorship system

Published:  17 Jan at 6 PM
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After endless calls by Kuwaiti rights groups, the emirate is considering the cancellation of the sponsorship system.

According to sources within the Kuwaiti government, Kuwait’s long-established sponsorship system is looking to be in its last days. For decades, the expat-aimed system has been criticised by rights groups and outside organisations for being a form of bonded labour, with the government now seemingly in agreement about its cancellation. It would seem lawmakers are finally aware that ending the system would be much appreciated by the International Labour Organisation and a number of human rights groups. In addition, cancelling the system would aid the fight against visa trafficking, a problem which lawmakers have been unable to solve in the past.

However, sources apparently stressed the abolition of the system would be linked with the Kuwaitization push to replace expat workers with Kuwait nationals over the next five years. The government is planning to follow Saudi Arabia’s efforts in this direction, with citizen appointments in the public sector’s admin sector the target and companies fined for failing to comply. The sponsorship system is applied across all Gulf States as well as in a number of other Arab nations, and has been roundly criticised for years by human rights activist groups for its exploitation of workers. It’s also known that employers often illegally confiscate workers’ passports, as well as denying employees the chance to change jobs.


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