This week I read news reports that Kuwait’s new visa regulations will not permit newcomers to the country to receive a visa if they have diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. I must say I have not seen any regulations similar to this proposed regulation and do not think it is fair for those who have non-infectious disease and want to work in Kuwait to provide for their families and themselves.
I have chosen today to write about visa regulations again, as it seems there is a lot of confusion on the matter by both expats and nationals and employees and employers. But we are lucky in Kuwait to have a diverse society, as I often say.
Question: What are the new changes in visa laws? Is it true that no expats under 30 will be provided with a work visa to work in Kuwait?
Fajer: I know that ‘visa laws’ can be confusing, especially since it is not just one law but different bylaws and ministerial decisions. The latest decisions state that starting from Jan 1, no work permits will be provided to expats younger than 30 in the private and oil sectors. I do not understand the logic behind this decision, although I hope that the government based this decision on a need. I see a lot of hardworking expats in Kuwait who are younger than 30, like teachers, construction workers or journalists.
There have been other changes as well. New visit laws now allow businessmen (or women) to enter Kuwait on a business visa valid for up to one year. Visas will also allow foreign students to study in private universities in Kuwait, and medical visas will be provided to those seeking treatment in Kuwait.
Question: I have many friends working in Kuwait on a tourist visa or on their husbands’ visas – is this legal?
Fajer: No. It is not legal to work under a tourist visa in Kuwait or on a dependent visa. With that said, I have seen this many times, especially with teachers. It does not make sense that schools are allowed such practices – teachers need to be qualified to be teaching our students and there have to be strict regulations in place. If you are going to do so, be prepared to be deported for violating visa regulations, as it is a violation to work under tourist visas in many countries, resulting in deportation or even a ban from the country or region.
Q: I am a dependent visa holder as my husband is my sponsor – does this permit me to work in Kuwait?
Fajer: As a dependent visa holder, you need to transfer your residency from ‘dependent’ to ‘work’. To apply for the new residency, you need to submit the following documents:
1. Application form for residency transfer (to be signed by the former and the new sponsors).
2. Two personal photos (light blue background – 6×4).
3. Original civil ID.
4. A certificate of health insurance.
5. A certificate of criminal status.
6. Work permit (to be issued by the Public Authority for Manpower).
7. Original signature approval of the new sponsor.
8. A form of personal photo.
9. Prescribed fees.
10. Original passport.
If you ever have confusion about the requirements and the documents that you need, I would suggest that you visit the shuoon (Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor) office closest to you and inquire about the administrative side of things. I want to also make it clear that even though unlike other countries there are no clear laws on visas and whether married women can volunteer, start a business or work part-time in Kuwait, I see no complications with such women volunteering or working with their artistic skills, as in taking/selling photos or having an exhibition of artworks, writing poetry, etc.
I hope the above helped. If you have a concern, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed