Kuwait to take new steps towards cancelling sponsorship system

February 3, 2010

Kuwait Towers

Kuwait’s social affairs and labour ministry is moving towards dropping the three-year residence rule and the sponsor’s consent before allowing expatriates to transfer their visas.

“The ministry seeks by adopting such a move to ease the situation of expatriates in Kuwait and allow them to switch sponsors without obstacles or impediments,” Al Shahed daily reported on Wednesday.

The decision is part of the gradual move to scrap the kafala, the sponsorship system that ties the legal and professional status of a foreigner in the country to a local sponsor.

“The scrapping of the sponsorship system will be gradual because it is difficult to abolish it at once and the self-sponsorship system is not applicable to all foreigners,” the unnamed sources quoted by the newspaper said.

However, the sources did not mention a date for the application of the new rules.

“The initial decision to drop the consent of the sponsor after a residence of three years has solved several problems caused mainly by the stubbornness and obstinacy of sponsors and people trading in visas and permits,” the Kuwaiti sources said. “This means that the elimination of the sponsorship system would not have negative effects. The contract drawn between the employer and the employee will govern relations between them.”

Kuwait and Bahrain last year moved towards the elimination of the system, but the business communities in both countries have vehemently resisted the concept, arguing that it would harm their interests and hurt the national economy.

Qatar said that it was monitoring developments before it would make a decision on the matter.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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