Back in 01-2014 you sent me information about expatriates working until the age of 80 in Kuwait. I have attached the information you sent to me. I am being denied work for jobs from a USA Company, VECTRUS located in Kuwait. They are claiming that Kuwait law does not allow anyone over 60 to work in their country. Since then, I have been trying to get confirmation on this age issue from the Ministry of Labor in Kuwait…. with no response. Can you help?
Answer: Your question the last time was totally of a different nature in which you wanted to know how long expatriates could work in Kuwait and we gave you examples of people even around 80 years old working in the country, but only in the private sector with people over 60 years or in some cases over 65 years working in the public sector but only on special contracts.
Generally, in Kuwait’s public sector the retirement age is 60 years while in some areas this has been relaxed to 65, beyond which (in special cases) people are given extensions of one year at a time.
Now, talking about the private sector, the Kuwait Labor Law nor any other ministerial decisions have not mentioned any retirement age but there is a difference in the laws for people already working in Kuwait and age limit for hiring people from abroad. In the coming paragraphs we will attempt to make this issue as clear as possible to leave no doubt on the issue in the minds of over readers.
While the age of 60 years or 65 years has been set by various ministries there is no retirement age set for workers in the private sector.
Generally, there is no mandatory retirement age in the country because it only applies to those who contribute to Kuwait’s Social Security Fund, which means only Kuwaitis but it is still applied to all in the government sector.
The government is now studying to decrease this limit to 50 years for expatriates in view of the growing local manpower market.
Now coming to the expatriates, it is essential to understand the following. Regarding these employees, especially those who are over 65 years, they may continue to work in Kuwait for the SAME employer, who can renew their work permits automatically without any issue. But there comes a problem when there is a bid to transfer the residence of people over 65 years to another sponsor.
This transfer can’t take place until special permission is obtained for this purpose from the Manpower Labor Authority / Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. So, you see there is no limit on the working age for expatriates in Kuwait but hiring of people — of the same age group — from abroad is totally a different matter.
Here, however, expatriates from outside Kuwait who are 60 years and above — and in some areas of work above 65 years — are not given a work permit unless a special exemption is obtained the relevant authorities mentioned above. So, if you fall under the higher age group mentioned above, your company needs to get a special exemption for you. A lot of companies, however, don’t pursue this route as it involves a lot of paperwork.
So, we hope that you have the answer to your problem besides learning the difference between age limit for working in Kuwait and the age limit for getting a work permit (while abroad) to work in Kuwait.