MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf

KUWAIT: MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said that at a time when oil producing counties are reorganizing labor markets to create new job opportunities, encourage the youth to join the private sector and reduce dependence on expatriate labor, the government in Kuwait keeps recruiting foreign workers. "This indicates the government and the concerned minister's failure and lack of vision to nationalize jobs and substitute expats with citizens," he stressed.

Hajraf also criticized what he called as allowing some foreign embassies' staff to interfere in the Public Authority for Manpower's decisions on behalf of their nationals and at the expense of employers. "The Minister of Social Affairs and Labor has been prejudiced on dealing with citizens and accuses them of trafficking in expats, as if they (expats) and their embassies are not responsible as well," he added, noting that the labor law needs real amendments to explain both sides' rights and obligations.

Hajraf called for putting an end to what he described as the chaos at the manpower authority at the expense of Kuwait's reputation. "Expats should not be allowed to transfer residency visas as long as employers respect the provisions in the contracts signed with them, namely those concerning labor, vocational and financial rights. This will help differentiate those who come to Kuwait to work and those who only come to make trouble and transfer visas as they wish," he said, pointing out that chaos in Kuwait's labor market encourages expats to purchase visas and do freelance jobs.

Moreover, Hajraf said that the labor law has many loopholes such as accepting grievances filed by expats working for people other than their sponsors and that this encourages many of them to abscond and get temporary visas to cancel the old one and shift sponsors, or even buy 'free' visas and start working on their own. "Expats have taken advantage of the weak laws and file more than one complaint without showing up for hearings, so that they can finally be allowed to transfer visas," he explained.

By A Saleh