Residency transfer after 3 years without the employer’s consent – Speaker says proposed power charges ‘very high’

KUWAIT: The Public Manpower Authority yesterday issued a new decision allowing expatriate laborers to transfer their residencies to other employers without the prior approval of their employers after three years of employment.

This means that expatriates will be able to change their employers after serving for three years without the need to have their approval.

Until now, transfer of residence permits is linked with the approval of current employers or after proving unfair treatment and non-payment of salary to the Authority.

The transfer of residence permits in Kuwait and other Gulf states is governed by the so-called sponsorship or Kafeel system under which the employers have the upper hand in deciding the destiny of their foreign employees.

The three-year decision appears to be the first step towards easing the controls of the kafeel system which Gulf states have pledged to abolish to international human rights organizations.

In another development, National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al- Ghanem said yesterday that the government- proposed electricity charges are “very high” adding that the Financial Committee and lawmakers have other proposals.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with a delegation of Moody’s ratings agency, the Speaker said the National Assembly plans to study the new charges and government’s economic reforms in the next session on April 12.

Ghanem said that the National Assembly will only vote on the power charges as approved by the Financial Affairs Committee which will spare low income sections and those who rationalize consumption from the increases.

The Financial Affairs Committee is scheduled to discuss the draft law for new power charges on Sunday and its head MP Faisal Al-Shaye said the panel has different plans to reduce the government proposals.

The government proposed to raise electricity charges by several-folds, especially for apartments inhabited mostly by expatriates.

It was not immediately known if MPs will reduce the government proposals for citizens and expatriates as well. Several lawmakers have already criticized the government proposals saying it will constitute a major burden on consumers. Ghanem said that the Assembly will also discuss the grilling against Commerce and Industry Minister Yousef Al-Ali on April 12.

This article was published on 31/03/2016