In what could bring about a solution to a months-long crisis involving expatriates above 60 in Kuwait, the newly appointed Justice Minister Jamal Al Jalwai will hold talks this week with the agencies concerned to devise the “best mechanism” to address the problem, a local newspaper has reported.
A disputed ban on renewing work permits for this category of expatriates who hold no university degree has been in effect in Kuwait for several months now, spelling trouble for them and their families.
In an attempt to resolve the standoff, Al Jalwai will meet with representatives of manpower authorities and the Cabinet legislation department, Al Rai newspaper said, quoting what it termed as well-informed sources.
“The minister seems serious to resolve this long-outstanding file,” the sources said.
Last October, the Kuwaiti Legal Advice and Legislation Department invalidated the ban on employing expatriates above 60, saying it had no legal basis.
The department said the ban had been issued by the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) director-general without authorisation.
At the time, a proposal was floated that those expatriates renew their work permits in return for a fee of KD500 per person and mandatory health insurance.
The PAM board later approved revocation of the ban and endorsed a new renewal system that has not come into effect, though.
The controversial ban, which went into effect earlier last year, triggered an outcry among rights activists, who argued that it affects thousands of expatriates and their families who long lived in Kuwait.
Around 4,013 such expatriates have been forced out of the work market in Kuwait in the first six months of enforcing the ban, Al Qabas newspaper reported recently.
Critics also said the restriction has also harmed many employers and destabilised the labour market in Kuwait, robbing it of experienced workers./ gulf news