Kuwait Visa-to-work-permit system to be reintroduced

KUWAIT: Kuwait will once again allow expatriates to obtain a work permit through transferring their commercial visa by the beginning of next year, after the current system was suspended at the start of this month in order to introduce amendments to impose stricter immigration criteria.

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, before the procedure is allowed again by January 1, 2012", said a senior Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) official.

Although one of the conditions for obtaining commercial visas is that all applicants must have a university degree, the insider believes that this is inadequate without any verifiable proof of this qualification.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the MSAL official said, "A lot of cases were discovered of people without any academic qualifications being able to obtain commercial visas and then turn them into work permits," he claimed.

The MSAL based its decision to change the old system followed concerns that the continued immigration of unskilled expatriate workers could negatively affect Kuwait's demographic composition. The move was taken as part of the ministry's efforts to reduce the number of unskilled expatriate workers in order to restructure the Gulf state's population figures, with this group currently forming an overall majority of the population.

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