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Starting 1 June, for a period of one year, Kuwait is set to implement significant changes to its expat residency law, including the introduction of new rules for work permits, Wego has learned.

The amendments, unveiled by top officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Sheikh Fahad Yousef Al-Sabah, include a provision allowing foreigners to stay in Kuwait without a residence permit for up to two months from their entry date.

During this period, foreigners will be required to apply for either regular or temporary residency. The data for these residencies will be recorded by two separate entities: the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) for regular residency and the Residency Affairs General Department in the Interior Ministry for temporary residency.

These changes mark a significant shift in Kuwait’s approach to expatriate residency and work permits, reflecting the country’s ongoing efforts to streamline its immigration processes and regulations.

New work permit rules

Along with this new update to their expat residency law, the officials with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) have issued a ministerial decision outlining the mechanism for granting work permits, facilitating the transfer of migrant workers recruited under these permits, and specifying the prescribed fees.

 

The decision stipulates the following:

Article 1: The employer must obtain work permits according to an estimate of need after obtaining the approval of the concerned department of PAM. Under the provisions of this decision, an additional fee of KD 150 will be collected for each work permit.

Article 2: The following categories are exempted from paying the additional fee referred to in Article 1 of this decision:

  • companies wholly owned by the government
  • hospitals, dispensaries, medical centers, and medical clinics licensed by the Ministry of Health
  • universities and private colleges
  • private schools
  • foreign investors approved by the Investment Promotion Authority
  • sports clubs, federations, public benefit associations, cooperative societies, trade unions, foundations, and charitable endowments
  • agricultural plots licensed by the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR).
  • fishing
  • barns, grazing sheep and camels
  • industrial establishments and small industries

Article 3: In cases where it is permissible to transfer workers from one employer to another by the procedures in force at PAM, the transfer of a migrant worker who was brought in with a work permit to another employer is permitted by the provisions of this decision, which is before the lapse of three years and for a fee of KD 300. The ban imposed on the movement of labor outside the sectors referred to in the decisions issued by PAM will continue by its procedures.

Article 4: The Director General of PAM may issue administrative decisions and circulars regarding the implementation of the provisions of this decision, particularly the conditions and controls for granting or suspending permits.

Article 5: The Board of Directors of PAM must direct its affairs to prepare a study on the effects of implementing this decision before one year has passed from the date of its implementation and present it to the concerned minister along with any recommendations that the board deems appropriate.

Article 6: Suspending the provisions of ministerial Resolution No. 12/2017 regarding adding fees to employers who meet the conditions in the event of recruiting workers over the number allocated to them.

  • suspending the provisions of Ministerial Resolution No. 26/2018 regarding the fees applied to employers holding second-class work permits
  • suspending the provisions of Chapter One regarding “Categories of Permits” from part two of the list of rules and procedures for granting work permits referred to, during the validity period of this decision mentioned in Article 7 below
  • excluding government contracts and projects and small and medium enterprises for holders of licenses registered with the Business Owners Service Department are excluded from the application of the provisions of this decision

Article 7: This decision shall be effective starting from 1 June 2024, for one year, and shall be published in the official gazette. The concerned authorities shall be informed and shall implement what is stated therein.