Kuwaiti MP wants to take away expats’ right to change employers

The right for Kuwaiti expats to change employers should be removed altogether according to a further motion being put to Kuwaiti parliamentarians.

MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf has called for the Kuwait Government to make further moves to reduce dependence on expatriate labor and give more jobs to Kuwaiti nationals.

Hajraf has criticised the government in Kuwait for recruiting foreign workers at a time when, he says, oil producing counties should be reorganising labor markets to create new job opportunities, encourage the Kuwaiti youth to join the private sector.

“This indicates the government and the concerned minister’s failure and lack of vision to nationalise jobs and substitute expats with citizens,” he said.

Hajraf called for putting an end to what he described as the chaos at the manpower authority at the expense of Kuwait’s reputation.

“Expats should not be allowed to transfer residency visas as long as employers respect the provisions in the contracts signed with them, namely those concerning labor, vocational and financial rights,” Hajraf told Kuwaiti newspaper Kuwait Times.

Labour market ‘chaos’

“This will help differentiate those who come to Kuwait to work and those who only come to make trouble and transfer visas as they wish,” he said. Hajraf pointed to what he believes is chaos in Kuwait’s labor market as art encourages expats to purchase visas and do freelance jobs.

This latest move to restrict expat rights in Kuwait follows a motion brought to parliament by five MPs at the end of December, as reported, to reduce the number of expats in Kuwait from two thirds down to 50% and deport as many as 1 million expat workers from the country within 10 years.

This was followed yesterday, as reported, by a further move, now agreed by parliament to force expat workers to pay a 500% increase for use of public health services.

‘Loopholes’

Hajraf added that the current Kuwaiti labour law has “too many loopholes”, such as accepting grievances filed by expats working for people other than their sponsors and that this encourages many of them to abscond and get temporary visas to cancel the old one and shift sponsors, or even buy ‘free’ visas and start working on their own.

“Expats have taken advantage of the weak laws and file more than one complaint without showing up for hearings, so that they can finally be allowed to transfer visas,” he claimed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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