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‘Law-abiding expats should feel at home’ ‘Govt body to issue visas, stamp residence will prevent exploitation’

According to a report by Al-Qabas daily “the Public Authority for Manpower has opened an online portal for companies handling government contracts as part of strategies to ease procedures for them.” Moreover, “quoting Director General of the authority Jamal Al-Dousari, he disclosed the authority has taken the first step through the issuance and renewal of work permits using the portal, in addition to final cancellation for travel. He explained the final cancellation is for workers who are outside the country or in case of death. He added the first step includes procedures for printing computerized list of workers registered under the companies” (see Arab Times July 18, 2014).
 
It is a good step to ease procedures pertaining to issuing work permits to expat workers. In addition to overcoming some of the negative aspects relating to work permits, the government needs to come up with new and more practical procedures to ease the issuing of Iqama, its renewal, and transfer. In order to transform Kuwait into a more welcoming environment for local and international investments, residency and work related procedures needs to be improved and simplified.
 
Furthermore, we continue to demand a fundamental change in issuing iqama for expats. Why not for example establish a public authority which sponsors all expats, whether professionals or domestic workers? Such a creative sponsorship project would provide more protection to our expatriate work force; instead of keeping the current residency situation, where domestic workers are sponsored by private individuals, why not assign such responsibility to a government agency. In addition, to providing more protection to domestic workers, a government sponsoring authority is more effective than private sponsorship.
 
Whatever the government does to improve the situation of our expatriate friends and partners, it needs to do so according to what is actually practiced in other countries. In fact, why not allow expatriate workers to sponsor themselves while they work in Kuwait? Why allow private citizens and expatriate sponsors to keep the passports of their domestic helpers?! Improving the situation of our expats will benefit our country. These hardworking people deserve our respect and appreciation. Expatriates help us as Kuwaitis through their positive contributions to our local economy.
 
Ultimately, having a government body which becomes responsible for issuing work visas and Iqama prevents exploitation. Providing an online portal to handle Iqama and work permits is a good step in the right direction. Our ultimate goal is to keep Kuwait as a welcoming environment for those who wish to contribute positively to our economy and local culture. A law-abiding, hardworking expat should feel at home in Kuwait; without fearing to fall victim to any kind of exploitation.
 
khaledaljenfawi@yahoo.com
 
By Khaled Aljenfawi

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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