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Curbs on overseas hiring eased

New first-time fee of KD 150 • Transfer allowed only after 3 years or by paying KD 300

KUWAIT: The Public Authority of Manpower announced on Thursday the reopening of recruitment of expat manpower from outside the country from June 1 in a move aimed at reducing the cost of labor in the domestic market and fighting trafficking in persons. The authority said the decision was taken during a meeting headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister and acting Interior minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousef Al-Sabah, who also chairs the authority, and the decision becomes effective from June 1.

The new decision ends a previous decision that imposed restrictions on employers to recruit expat manpower from outside the country in order to force them to look for workers from the domestic market as part of measures to rebalance the ratio of citizens and expats, who currently are at least double the size of Kuwaitis. Kuwaiti employers were allowed to recruit manpower from outside Kuwait under strict conditions and when the needed workers were not available in the country.

These restrictions have dramatically increased the cost of hiring expat laborers from the local market, which indirectly impacted prices of services in the local market, the authority said in a statement. The decision imposes a fee of KD 150 on recruitment for the first time for each worker. It also bans the transfer of recruited expat workers to other employers before the completion of three years or paying a fee of KD 300 with the approval of their current employers.

The authority also said the decision aims to fight human trafficking and to help employers carry out their activities with ease. It also aims at reducing the cost of workers in the domestic market, especially in the contracting and construction sectors. Since the arrival of this government, currently functioning in the capacity of a caretaker Cabinet, about three months ago, it has opened visit visas for expats and also resumed issuing dependent visas for families of expats working in Kuwait, but after raising the minimum salary condition.

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