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Visa renewal fees could increase
December 22, 2014, 9:07 am
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Kuwait may increase the fees collected from expatriate workers for issuing or renewing work visas, a senior government official announced. According to Kuwait Times report, Currently, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor collects KD 12 per new visa issued or transaction to transfer a visit visa to a work visa, while renewing a work visa requires an annual payment of KD 2.

The Manpower Public Authority is currently studying the possibility of increasing the fees on par with rates found in other Gulf states where fees for similar transactions reach KD 100, General Director Jamal Al-Dousary said in a recent statement.

While fees for renewing work visas in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are higher compared to Kuwait, they are far from the KD 100 mark that Dousary mentioned – with the exception of Qatar where the fee still reaches approximately KD 80. Furthermore, Gulf states adopt similar fees for new visa issuance and annual renewal. Dousary also failed to mention other mandatory fees that expatriates are required to pay when renewing their visas in Kuwait every year, including KD 10 for Immigration and KD 52 for health insurance.

Reopening recruitment

The senior official meanwhile announced that the Manpower Public Authority’s Board of Directors could announce at the beginning of 2015 the date for reopening recruitment of foreigners in the private sector.

The process, which has been suspended recently while revisions in visa regulations are in the works, was tentatively supposed to resume by the new year’s start, but Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subaih said recently that the date was pushed indefinitely for further studying.

The authority’s board will meet in early 2015 and is expected to announce the new visa controls with a date for the recruitment reopening, Dousary explained. The new regulations will allow firms to recruit workers from abroad, though they would will still be required to adhere to specific percentages based on the labor market’s needs, and bearing in mind the state’s demographic balance.

Other procedures including transferring a domestic worker’s visa to the private sector, transferring a visit visa to a work permit, and transferring visas of workers signed by private companies to work on government projects, will remain suspended. All procedures have been suspended since December 15th and until the end of the year for the annual inventory.

Workers’ shelter
In other news, the Manpower Public Authority officially opens the expatriate workers’ shelter tomorrow under minister Subaih’s patronage. The government-sponsored shelter houses 700 people, and is built to provide refuge for domestic helpers or private sector employees who are subjected to abuse by their employers.

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