Kuwait to ban most expats aged over 60 from 1 January

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Kuwait to ban most expats aged over 60 from 1 January

Authorities in Kuwait are pressing ahead with a move to cease renewing work permits for foreigners aged over 60 who do not hold a university degree.

The decision is scheduled to take effect from 1 January 2021 and will be applied on an individual basis when work or residency permits expire.

As reported by II earlier this month, Kuwait is engaged in a long-term effort to drive down the numbers of foreign workers in the oil-rich Gulf state, in a shift to prioritising the hiring of Kuwaiti nationals.

We are responsible for everyone who lives on this land and the residency trade has exhausted the state and the services in all institutions, especially when dealing with the current situation."

Kuwait's prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, said in June that the Gulf state would like expat numbers to reduce to 30% of the country's population. Ultimately as many as 2.5 million people would need to leave Kuwait. It is estimated that 15,000 expats left the country in the first six months of this year.

The director-general of the Public Authority for Manpower, Ahmed Al Mousa, told Kuwaiti news outlet Al Rai: "The authority is continuing to implement the decision," indicating that "[they have] given the target group a period to make the administrative arrangements and to amend their legal status, as the decision will not be applied to them until January 1, 2021."

The ministry clarified: "Those who hold a post-secondary diploma or higher are not affected by the new decision." Some expat workers aged over 60 will have to apply for a family residency permit, but will nonetheless have to leave once this document expires.

As of today, expatriates still account for around 3.4 million of the country's 4.8 million people.

In June Al-Sabah spoke of redressing this "imbalance." "We are responsible for everyone who lives on this land and the residency trade has exhausted the state and the services in all institutions, especially when dealing with the current situation," the prime minister said.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.