From April 2007, I have been working in Kuwait for a private company.
My residency is on an Article 18 project visa, that project has already been completed, but due to some problems my residence has not yet been transferred to any other project.
Currently I am only a temporary extension visa for three months. My wife is also staying with me as a dependent and recently I got a better offer from a private company.
My current profession on my visa is driver, having a valid driving license up to 2021. I have some doubts which I wish to have cleared before proceeding with the new offer.
1) Is this visa transferable (release)
2) Can I use the same driving license in the new place
3) If I get a release, can I continue my wife’s visa (dependent) up to valid period.
4) In case (if I don’t get a release) and I have to leave the country, can I come back on the same profession (driver) on a new visa soon.
5) With new residency, as per the new rules what is the salary cap for getting a new (dependent) visa.
Answer: You have not mentioned whether you were hired from abroad or transferred locally to this firm. And that makes a lot of difference these days as the law is different in both cases.
We have, however, answered a number of similar questions and in a lot of detail of the last few months. One of these answers is reprinted below for your information and that of the other readers.
“It’s now not a question of what your work status is or how long you have spent with the firm on a government project visa…instead what is being considered is whether you were hired for the project from abroad or you joined the firm on a local transfer.
“So everything will be in your favor, if you are already in Kuwait and you are planning to join the government project on a local transfer or have already joined a government project on a local transfer. This means that you will not have any problems ( and that too without having to leave the country) transferring back to a private sector but remember that you will have to work with the new firm for at least a year before you can apply for a release.
We would like to bring the following to your attention.
Over an year ago — in March 2015 — after issuing a similar verdict on Jan 11 of the same year, Manpower Public Authority Director Jamal Al-Dousary issued an administrative decision allowing some expatriates working on government projects to transfer their visas from one sponsor to another.
This made things easy for only some of the expatriates but a lot of them misunderstand the situation and think that there is a blanket ban on transfer of government project visas.
But this is not the case and this is where a clarification comes into play and sets the ground rules for the transfers that are allowed.
Workers on government projects were in the past only allowed to transfer their visas to different companies but under the sponsorship of the same employer after the completion of their contracts.
But now the above decision clarifies that laborers contracted locally from the private sector or transferring from dependent visas can transfer to other sponsors according to the previous conditions, which are:
- Conclusion of the project’s tenure
- Working for at least one year for the first sponsor
- Getting the sponsor’s approval for transferring.
So, this makes it very clear that if you transferred to this project locally from another sponsor / company then your transfer is allowed.
In the end, as a result of the above decision, we would again like to stress that if you joined the government project on a local transfer you should have no difficulty in transferring your residence to the private sector after one year but if you were hired on this project from abroad then you can forget about transferring to the private sector unless there is a drastic change in the rules… which doesn’t look likely in the near future.
On the other issues that you want to have addressed we have the following advice for you.
You can only use the same driving license with the new firm if your designation on the new work permit remains unchanged. This means if the designation is changed, you lose the license.
If your work permit is transferred than you will be able to retain the residence of your wife for the length of your residence but if your residence is cancelled then her residence will also be cancelled.
Yes, if your residence is cancelled and you have to leave the country you can return to Kuwait on a new work permit which shows your designation as driver but you have to remember that once your residence is cancelled your license will also be automatically cancelled. You will then have to apply again to have it renewed after re-entering the country and getting the new residence.
While there has been a lot of talk / rumors about the hike in the salary cap for dependent visas, it still remains KD 250. The Interior Ministry had planned to raise this to KD 500 but the proposal was rejected by various departments. Now the Interior Ministry says that it has so far not received any instructions to revisit the issue.
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The Arab Times invites questions on all aspects of Kuwaiti law. If you face a problem, or need specific advice on any legal matter, from commercial and investment law to divorce and labour, send questions to the Managing Editor, Arab Times, P.O. Box 2270, 13023 Safat, Kuwait, or Fax to 24818267. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org