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Kuwait: Expats allowed to transfer work permit from government to private sector

DATE: 05-Mar-2021 Reported By: Gulf News

Kuwait City: On Wednesday, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) announced that expats working in the government sector are able to transfer their work permits to the private sector.

In a statement, PAM pointed out that those working in ministries, agencies and public institutions, including those on a dependent visa, are eligible to transfer their work permits. Those working in government contracts and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are not eligible to transfer their visas.

The decision only applies to expats currently in Kuwait and with the approval of their previous employer.

In addition, PAM removed the ban on expats from switching to the following six sectors: industry, cooperative society, free trade zone, industry and grazing. Previously, there was a ban on expats transferring to one of the six sectors.

Impact of pandemic

The decision comes as Kuwait is witnessing a shortage of labour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuwait is dependent on foreign labour, especially in the private sector, where expats make up around 90 per cent of the total private sector labour force.

Over the past year, it is estimated that around 134,000 expats left Kuwait due to various reasons from expired visas to lack of jobs due to the negative impact the pandemic has had on the economy.