Kuwait proposes pro-expat law for first time in almost a decade

Kuwait proposes pro-expat law for first time in almost a decade

Kuwait proposes pro-expat law for first time in almost a decade

Kuwaiti lawmakers break the mould by publishing new expat-friendly laws

The emirate’s new legislation is expected to increase annual leave entitlement to 40 days and increase indemnity and monthly salaries by 15 per cent for around 1.7 million expatriates working in the private sector. Coordination between Kuwait’s foreign ministry and its Interior Ministry is to result in the scrapping of expat residency certificates and their replacement with the already available civil ID document.

Whilst the new law will benefit the emirate’s working expatriates, another is likely to upset potential women drivers, as licenses will only be granted to those with children and whose husbands are public prosecutors, doctors, experts, university faculty members, advisors, pharmacists, general managers or their aides. In addition, the salaries of these professionals must be KD600 or more. According to a recent report, Kuwait’s health ministry received private health insurance payments of around KD110 million from the emirate’s expat community.

The new legislation comes as local lawmakers demand a re-balancing of Kuwait’s demographics in favour of Emiratis, as some 70 per cent of the emirate’s population are expatriates. A number of MPs are pushing for the number to be reduced to 50 per cent, meaning some 1.5 million foreign workers would be forced to leave the country. It seems the Kuwaiti parliament is split on the issue, with one side blaming expats for everything from traffic jams and the deterioration of daily life to the general level of poor services across the board.

To be slightly fair to the anti-expat lawmakers, their references would seem to include only ‘marginal labourers’, but would–be expats considering a position in Kuwait’s education and healthcare sectors might well be alarmed by the sentiment.

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