Only Kuwaitis can apply for jobs in Kuwait after April 1st
China National News - Thursday 21st March, 2013
Kuwait to freeze new workers visas as of April 1st
Half of current 2 million expatriate population to be culled
As of April 1st employers in Kuwait can only employ Kuwaiti nationals
Kuwait, the tiny Gulf country the United States went to war over, is closing its doors to international immigrants.
It is also taking things a step further. The country plans to force a million expatriates living in Kuwait to leave the country, over the next 10 years.
Kuwait, according to a survey released this week is already at the bottom rung of friendly countries. It was voted the 137th most friendly country, out of 140 countries included in the survey.
The Kuwaiti government is to freeze the issuing of new workers permits on April 1st, just ten days away, causing havoc to expatriates in the process of finalising arrangements for travel to the country for work.
Kuwait in 1990 was invaded by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The United States, under George Bush senior assembled an international array of 34 countries to defeat Saddam and drive his army from Kuwait.
The country's population has grown to three million, with only a third being Kuwaiti nationals. The remaining 2 million expatriates will be reduced by half over the next 10 years, as one million people will be forced to leave their homes and jobs.
"It's part of the ministry's efforts to regulate the labor market, curb the phenomenon of marginal labor and restore the demographic equilibrium of the country," Thekra Al-Rasheedi, Kuwait's Minister of Social Affairs and Labor said in a statement released by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on Wednesday.
The new measures mean only Kuwaiti nationals can be employed after April 1st. In all likelihood existing expatriates who are on work visas which normally run for 3 years, will not have them renewed - meaning they will lose their jobs when their visas expire, and their employers will be forced to hire Kuwaitis only.
The government is setting up a watchdog to ensure employers comply with the new regulations.
Expatriates in Kuwait are already treated like second class citizens, paying full freight for most government services while locals enjoy handsome government subsidies. The government is currently looking at abolishing subsidies for foreign workers for essential services such as electricity, water and gas supplies. Expats are already restricted to accessing medical services, limited to afternoon appointments with doctors and hospitals, unless there is an emergency.
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