KUWAIT: Today is the first anniversary of a controversial decision by the Director of Public Authority for Manpower (520/2020) on the rules and procedures for granting work permits, which included a ban on issuing permits to those who reach the age of 60 and do not hold a university degree. But the Cabinet is strongly behind a humanitarian solution to the problem that was created by the abovementioned decision, according to government sources.

The same sources, who were quoted anonymously by Al-Qabas Arabic newspaper yesterday, said the decision the Cabinet supports will reduce the fees on this category of residents by 50 percent, so the maximum annual fee will be KD 1,000 per individual instead of KD 2,000.

This will include the state's fee expected to be not more than KD 500, and the same or less for insurance that will cover all medical treatments in the private sector. They said the KD 500 cost for the insurance policy is due to the high medical costs of the age groups of 60 and above, in addition to the types of treatment private hospitals will offer through this category of insurance.

Ministry of labor?

In other news, the same newspaper reported yesterday that the government is contemplating establishing a new ministerial portfolio called the "ministry of labor". Government sources quoted in the report said the ministry would oversee the local labor market and employment of Kuwaitis in the public and private sectors. The sources said the study for establishing the portfolio seeks to adopt one of two options - both aiming at employing Kuwaitis.

They said the first choice is to include the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) while maintaining the administrative structures of both entities to organize the workforce, while creating cooperation in their plans towards organizing the local marketplace. This option was discussed previously but was not approved, and it has surfaced again lately.

The second option is to include CSC, PAM and the higher education ministry. The sources said the portfolio will be under one minister, adding this option will be the cornerstone for organizing the local labor market and having higher education graduates that can meet its needs.