Kuwait to halt recruitment of expats aged under 30

New rules form part of country’s aims to reduce the number of foreign workers

Kuwait is to stop issuing work permits to foreign graduates under the age of 30, it has been reported.

Manpower authority spokesperson Aseel Al-Mezyad confirmed the plans, which will be effective from next year, according to the Kuwait Times.

The rule change is understood to apply to the private and oil sectors, from 1 January 2018.

Is it the latest in a series of measures implemented by the government, in order to try and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign labour and to increase the employment of nationals.

Last month, People Management reported that the government was considering limiting the number of expats in Kuwait. The minister for social affairs and state minister for economic affairs, Hind Al Subaih, said there was the potential for new laws to be imposed in order to shift the labour market and force unemployed workers out of the country.

Residence permits for some foreigners – such as those who are between jobs – may not be renewed if reforms are enacted.

The minister said any such reforms would be aimed at protecting vulnerable workers from being employed illegally. Kuwait's total population is 4.4 million and approximately two thirds are foreigners. It is understood that any changes in the law would mostly affect unskilled Asian construction workers and domestic helpers.

There have also been calls from officials to tax foreigners more heavily, and many MPs have pushed for a system to keep expat communities below 15 per cent of the Kuwaiti population.

In March this year, Kuwait’s Ministry of State for National Assembly Affairs recommended setting a timeline to stop hiring expats in the private sector. It also suggested deporting ‘marginal’ labourers, in an effort to rebalance the country’s population.

Limits on foreign workers have been frequently suggested by MPs, as well as a total ban on expats in the public sector.

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