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Sponsor system in Kuwait on way out – New authority in place to streamline transfers

 KUWAIT: Changing the sponsor system or ‘kafeel’ system for expats will be applied within a few months, according to Jamal Al- Dosari, Undersecretary of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor after the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) is established. The logistics of this project are not clear at the moment but it is said that it will replace the current sponsor system. “The word ‘kafeel’ does not exist in the Kuwaiti labor law. There is employer and employee, and ‘kafeel’ is an unofficial term,” Al-Dosari told the Kuwait Times. According to him, the decree for establishing PAM was issued some time ago. “There have been gradual steps over the past few years to change the present kafeel system and PAM was founded to replace it.

This public institution will have a board of directors who will meet soon and set the procedure to organize relations between employers and employees,” Al-Dosari said. According to him, an employee is now able to transfer his residency without the approval of the employer after three years of working with him. “This period is shorter if both parties agree. The employee can now leave the present employer and transfer to another employer after one year only if the employer agrees. It’s not reasonable for the time frame to be shorter as the employee has to work for at least a year to not harm the employer’s interests on the other hand,” he explained.

This authority will be responsible for employees holding Visa 18. Maids, domestic drivers, and other employees in similar positions are working in Kuwait according to Visa 20 which does not follow the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and will not be included in the labor law, Al-Dosari said explaining that they follow the Ministry of Interior, so PAM won’t be responsible for them directly. According to Al-Dosari the recruitment offices which are currently responsible for hiring maids from abroad will no longer deal with this. “Instead, PAM will work with a private company to hire maids from abroad. This will solve most of the problems which plague both the companies, as well as the sponsors,” Al-Dosari said.

By Nawara Fattahova

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This article was published on 19/09/2013