Immigration update: changes impact dependents, Moroccan and Tunisian women
5 Feb 19
Kuwaiti authorities have moved to allow dependent family members to apply for 90-day visas and have placed new restrictions on Moroccan and Tunisian women working in the country. They have also proposed changes to require health insurance for all foreign employees and to further restrict visa transfers.
- Dependent family members are now eligible for 90-day visit visas. Under a change introduced at the end of last year, family members of expatriate workers, including parents and in-laws, are now eligible for 90-day visit visas as well as the previously allowed 30-day visit visas. Expatriates sponsoring family visit visas must earn a salary of no less than 500 Kuwaiti dinars (about US$1,649) per month. Work activities are not permitted on visit visas, and immigration officers have the ultimate authority in determining the visas’ validity.
- Moroccan and Tunisian women face new restrictions. Under a change that took effect in December 2018, Moroccan and Tunisian women under the age of 40 must be accompanied by a close male relative (“mahram”), such as a brother, husband, uncle or father, to work in Kuwait. Under previous rules, authorities imposed the same requirement on Lebanese women under 40. This rule only applies to new applicants and not those renewing their residency in Kuwait.
- Authorities have proposed a rule to require foreign nationals to have health insurance. If adopted, this change would follow a regional trend in the Middle East where countries are increasingly imposing new health insurance requirements. This change would apply to both employees and visitors.
- Authorities have proposed banning visa transfers. This change would bar visa transfers by employees from transferring companies for three years upon receipt of their visa. Currently, visa transfers are permitted after one year.
Analysis & Comments: The changes ease visa processes for visiting dependent family members and make working in Kuwait more difficult for some women from Morocco and Tunisia. The proposed health insurance requirements and restriction on visa transfers would be significant for employers and employees alike, but are not yet finalized and may change before they are implemented.
Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.