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Thursday , January 23 2020

Transfer project visa

I have come to Kuwait on a project visa, Article 18. I have been working in Kuwait for 2 years … my project is still functioning … but can I get a transfer to a private company ? I was trying to find out the right resources to get a clear answer on the recent law prohibiting those who are on government project visas to be transferred to the private sector.

The current situation on this matter is extremely unclear because the messages and instructions I get from different sources contradict each other.

One says having sufficient years of work on a government project visa (a minimum of 3 years) permits one to be transferred to the private sector while other sources refer to some articles in newspapers highlighting strict conditions prohibiting transfer from government projects visa to the private sector and instead, requires one to leave the country and return on a new work visa … which is not a workable condition for me and probably for many other skilled professionals residing in Kuwait with family and kids.

I even wrote a letter to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, through their official web page, but didn’t get any feedback. I’m an engineering consultant working for one of the major international engineering and consultancy company with a secondment contract providing engineering support to one of the companies of KPC.

Due to extremely high rates that my secondment costs to mentioned above company I was given an offer to join them directly and continue contributing to the company’s strategic objectives as a direct employee.

Unfortunately the current conditions — as regards the above highlighted recent law on visa/residency transfer — have created a situation where for the last 4 months neither me nor the representatives of the company which offered me the job could find any clear and straight forward solution to deal with this indeed difficult situation.

I’m pretty sure that there are certain conditions which provide opportunity and flexibility for immigration clerks to treat such issues on a case by case basis, giving a slot for uninterrupted visa/residency transfer once certain preconditions are fulfilled.

Through this e-mail I kindly request you to help out on this issue and investigate the case with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, further publishing a clear and straight forward article to brighten the probably thousands of those who are stuck and suffering from the current conditions which prohibit the transfer of expatriates on government project visas to the private sector.

Name withheld

Answer: You are right, there are a lot of conflicting news reports on the transfer of expatriates on government project visas. So much so that the public is now totally confused on the issue. But the fact remains the government is very strict on the transfer of government project visas and all the transfers in this regard have been suspended by the Public Authority for Manpower.

The Director of this authority says most of such transfers are linked to trading in visas. So, until this suspension is lifted all the transfers — without exception — remain suspended. While that is the current situation to the best of our knowledge, we recommend that your new firm write to the Legal Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. This department is very prompt in replying to such queries of companies and gives very clear advice on every issue. This will clear all the doubts in this regard.

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