Sunday , November 19 2017

Services terminated – “I have bank loans to pay”

My services are terminated by the employer and I am on three months’ notice period (remaining notice period is 15 days only). Please note that my Iqama will be valid for 3 months from the last working day. I am having some loans in bank and other institutions and I am unable to pay my loan premium till I get other job or my indemnity benefits. I heard that indemnity will be given only once the Iqama is cancelled/ transferred. I am searching for a job and my concern is for the loan repayment, in case, I don’t get a suitable job till my last working day. Alternatively I am thinking to make some temporary transfer of my residence so that I can seek for indemnity benefits and then repay all my loans and keep searching for jobs. Under the given circumstances, it would be great if you could advise me on the following:

1. After I get suitable job, can I re-transfer my residence to another employer and is there any minimum period required for this retransfer? I have been in Kuwait for the past 19 years and I have changed 3 companies locally. I am Diploma Holder in Mechanical Engineering and I am currently working as a Manager but in the Izenamal (work permit) it is mentioned as Supervisor. My age is 54 years, my service in this company will be a few months less for five years).

2. I am holding valid license (issued in April 2005) and to retain it what care is to be taken during temporary and permanent transfer of residency.

3. Is there any provision under law to seek indemnity without transferring the residency to new employer? If not is there any alternate solutions, like giving employee guarantee to the company etc?

4. If I don’t get new job and indemnity, is there any provision under law that I can seek any grace period for loan re-payment? Kindly advise at the earliest possible.

Name withheld
Answer: An employee is always at liberty to transfer his/her residence to another employer except for the proviso that the employee meets the minimum service requirement which is 3 years for an employee brought into Kuwait from his/her home country or one year for someone employed locally if that person does not possess a university degree.

On the other hand, an employee hired locally but has a university degree is free to transfer his/her residence at any point in time.

Coming specifically to your question, the answer is you can only re-transfer your residence permit after one year since you are a diploma and not degree holder. To retain your license just make sure that at no point in your stay in Kuwait will you be classified as illegal resident because the validity of your licence is always tied to the validity of your residence. To the best of our knowledge, the only two ways available to you to be paid your indemnity is either to transfer your residence to another employer or cancel your residence and prepare to leave the country.

However if you fulfil any of the above conditions and your employer refuses to pay your indemnity you can file a case with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour through the Labour Department in your area to seek redress. Without a new job, the remaining alternative for you is to wind up your activities in Kuwait, cancel your residence permit and qualify to be paid your indemnity which you can then use to settle your loans before leaving the country. Time is not on your side so you have to act fast otherwise you will soon find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

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