A common trend around the world currently with all that is going on is immigration. People are moving from one country to another, for different reasons of course, including looking for stability and peace, better lifestyles, job opportunities and so on.
The GCC generally has received in the past 10 years a surge of immigrants. The UAE now has nearly eight times more expats than UAE nationals, while Qatar has six times more expats and Kuwait has 2-3 times more expats! Therefore, I keep repeating this topic in general because I think it is of great importance to our readers. Everyone wants to know what the situation is for expats working in Kuwait, especially with all the news in the past few months about deportations for various reasons.
There was a general concern that the government was heading towards decreasing the amount of expats working in Kuwait in order to create more jobs for Kuwaitis. Recently though, the government met officials from various countries emphasizing the importance of creating diversity within Kuwait. Also, the government has promised violating expats that they could just pay their fines and will not be banned from entering Kuwait or the GCC in the future. All this news has created major concerns that I answer below:
Searching for jobs online
Question: How can I come for work in Kuwait? Are companies still hiring expats? Can I get a visa to look for a job?
Fajer: Yes, companies are still hiring expats of various nationalities for different jobs, unfortunately though from experience, it seems harder for certain nationalities to get job offers/work permits than others. There are no visas to be granted for you to come in to Kuwait to look for a job. Usually, how it works is you get a job offer and then a work permit to enter Kuwait and not the other way around. So if you would like to work in Kuwait, I suggest you look for jobs online and apply or maybe work with a company that has an office in Kuwait and you can then transfer to Kuwait.
Question: The company that I am working for has lost a lot of money lately, and has therefore fired expats first, claiming that this is the law. Is this true?
Fajer: There is no law that states that non-Kuwaitis are to be let go before Kuwaiti citizens when a company is bankrupt. With that said, there is also no law that makes it illegal for a company to fire non-Kuwaitis first. In fact from experience, some companies prefer to let go of expats first on the basis that preference is for Kuwaitis in their home country, stating that non-Kuwaitis can go back and find a job in their home country.
Question: I have run away from my sponsor because of abuse and my visa has expired. I really want to go home now but I am afraid. What can I do?
Fajer: No matter how difficult the job gets or the pressure around you from any verbal abuse, do not abscond. Absconding in Kuwait has criminal consequences. Unless you are being physically abused, I suggest you file a complaint with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.
As for the recent news that violators could just pay fines for violating the law and will not be punished, neither will you be. I trust the Kuwait government and therefore would like to believe that it is true. Yet, I have not received any emails or heard of any firsthand experiences that the above is either true or false. If you have had an experience recently, kindly share with me at email@example.com
Moving to another GCC country
Question: I left Kuwait last year without informing my employer due to personal problems and I was not in the proper state of mind during that time. My residency validity is until Dec 2016. Now I am in my country of origin and I wish to move to another GCC country. My question is will I face any problem once I arrive to the GCC because of my history in Kuwait. Can my previous company ban me from entering the GCC?
Fajer: To be completely honest with you, the answer to this question depends on how your previous company dealt with the issue. It would be fair to assume that there could be an absconding case against you, or from experience, other cases. Well, how do you check? There is no easy way, but I usually suggest for my clients to give me a power of attorney from their home country (keep in mind this can take up to two months, but usually takes around 10 working days). With the POA, I can then have one of my team members go and check at court whether or not there is a case against my client. I then email my client informing him or her on what the outcome is and what steps they can take and whether or not it is safe for them to come back to the GCC.
For any legal questions or queries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Fajer Ahmed