[Kuwait] Opposition to 5-year expat residence visas

Government plans for a  five-year limit to residence visas for expat workers have met with negative reactions, Arab Times reports.

The government are considering the five-year limit as a way to correct population imbalance. Their intention was to replace workers with a new intake after the time limit expired. However, there has been opposition from Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis. Private company owners were particularly concerned, stating that the policy would encourage visa traders.

Salah Al-Seyyid - an expatriate engineer - reportedly said the market was about ‘demand and supply’, believing that the company employing an ex-pat could determine their competency. So that an employer could terminate his contract if his performance falls below a 70 per cent rating.

With companies already choosing to retain only the most competent staff, setting a five year limit on expatriate residences could have a negative impact on those businesses going forward. Mansour Zaki said the decision would be more reasonable if directed at migrant workers only. He suggests that taking this step against productive expatriates will have an adverse effect on the country because expatriate workers benefit the economy of Kuwait, as they gain from the country.

Dr Salah Bourseli - Chairman of the Union of Contracting Companies - said that stipulating five years for expats’ residence visas is an unrealistic proposition that cannot stand the test of time and added that the decision is unprofessional.

He believes the decision goes against the national interest because professions like the construction industry suffer when they lose engineers. Dr Bourseli said, “I have many engineers who have been working in my company for over 25 years, while I keep some technical experts and supervisors whose wealth of experience I can’t afford to lose”