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Kuwait's new visa rules: Domestic workers can transfer to private sector

Starting July 14, domestic workers can transfer their visas under specific conditions

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Surbhi Gloria Singh New Delhi

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The Kuwaiti government has introduced new visa rules allowing expatriates working in domestic sectors to transfer their visas to the private sector. This change, announced by the Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Interior Sheikh Fahad Al Yousuf Al Sabah, aims to streamline labour mobility while adhering to the nation's legal framework.

Starting July 14, domestic workers can transfer their visas under specific conditions. The move is likely to benefit Indian workers in the Gulf country.

Conditions for visa transfer

The conditions for transferring visas include:
- Holding approval from their current employer
- Having a minimum residency period of one year with their current employer
- Paying a transfer fee of 50 dinars (about Rs 13,640)
- A charge of 10 dinars (approx Rs 2,728) applied for each year of service with the current employer

Three-month amnesty period

This announcement follows a three-month amnesty period, which ended in June. During this period, expatriates residing unlawfully in Kuwait were allowed to regularise their status. Options included paying penalties, obtaining new residency, or leaving the country without fines.

Crackdown on illegal housing

Recently, Kuwait has intensified its efforts to address illegal housing. This crackdown was prompted by a tragic fire that killed 43 Indians due to an electric short circuit on June 12. Among the deceased, 23 were from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, three from Andhra Pradesh, and one each from Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, and West Bengal.

Authorities have evicted several foreign nationals, particularly bachelor expatriates, in Bnied Al-Gar, the site of the fire incident.

Indians in Kuwait

Kuwait has a population of nearly 4.2 million, of which 21% (1 million) are Indians. Indians comprise 30% of Kuwait's workforce. According to the latest statistics released by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) of Kuwait, the population of Kuwait was 4.859 million (1.546 million citizens and 3.3 million expatriates) as of December 2023.

Indian workers dominate both the private sector and the domestic sector workforce, according to the Indian embassy in Kuwait. Most Indian professionals work as engineers, doctors, chartered accountants, scientists, software experts, management consultants, and architects. Technicians and nurses, retail traders, and businessmen also make up a significant portion of the workforce, though a large proportion consists of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

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First Published: Jul 10 2024 | 10:21 AM IST

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