Kuwait to streamline process of visa issuance

Dubai, Sep 19 (PTI) Kuwait plans to streamline the process of visa issuance to allow expatriates to obtain work permit through transferring their commercial visa, an official said.

"Work is currently underway to introduce new controls and conditions for obtaining commercial visas which can prevent violations in the process of turning visas into work permits," an official of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MSAL) said.

The system was suspended earlier to introduce amendments that will impose stricter immigration criteria.

"The revamped procedure is expected to be allowed again by January 1, 2012," he was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times daily.

The condition that the applicant for a commercial visa must hold a university degree was inadequate without any verifiable proof of the qualification, according to the official.

"A lot of cases were discovered of people without any academic qualifications being able to obtain commercial visas and then turning them into work permits," he said.

The MSAL had changed the old system following concerns that the continued immigration of unskilled expatriate workers could negatively affect Kuwait''s demographic composition.

The move is part of the ministry''s efforts to reduce the number of unskilled foreign workers in order to restructure the Gulf state''s population figures.

Kuwait is home to a total population of 3.3 million, including 2.2 million foreigners, mainly from Asia. The group of unskilled labourers currently forms the overwhelming majority of the population.

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