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Kuwait Immigration Information - Work Permit

Any foreign national wishing to work in Kuwait must have a working visa under a Kuwaiti sponsor. There is no provision for freelance work and foreign nationals found working without a working visa will be promptly apprehended and asked to leave resulting in a possible ban from returning.

Kuwait has a large population of expatriates working in both the public and private sector. Being able to speak Arabic is advantageous but not a prerequisite, as most industries make use of both Arabic and English in their day-to-day operations. There are no specific restrictions for working in Kuwait i.e. you do not need to hold a degree to be issued with a work permit. Private sector companies rarely, if ever, offer share option schemes to expatriates. Working for an international company will sometimes mean that you are paid in a foreign currency, such as US dollars. Accommodation allowances and annual airfares home, although generally included in employment contracts, are not mandatory.

Work permits are iqamas granted under articles 17 (For Public Sector Employees) and 18 (Private Sector Employees) of the immigration regulations. To obtain residence on a work visa, an offer of employment must first be accepted. The Kuwaiti sponsoring employer then applies for a work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour, for which the sponsor needs a copy of the employee's passport showing sector employer must then obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior upon submitting the employee's personal details.

If the employee is living in a country that has a Kuwaiti embassy the employer will send him a copy of the work permit which he must take to the embassy. Which will also have received a copy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for endorsement. The employee must then apply for an entry visa for Kuwait, using the endorsed work permit. Those sponsored by private sector companies will require their NOCs and a copy of the employer's authorised signatory as registered for business purposes. An applicant is also required to provide a medical certificate, obtained from a clinic recognised by the Kuwait Embassy, stating that their general state of health is good and that they are free of specific epidemic diseases. A good conduct certificate, issued by the police in the last place of residence, may be required for some nationalities.

If the employee is living in a country that has no Kuwait embassy, then the sponsor will submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of the Interior to obtain the entry visa. If an employee is on a visit visa to Kuwait when he accept employment, then once the work permit and NOC are ready, he must leave Kuwait and return on the entry visa the sponsor obtain for him. Most nationalities are obliged to return to their native country in order to undergo medical tests and have them endorsed at the Kuwait embassy there.

Once he has entered Kuwait, the employee must undergo local medical tests and obtain a fingerprint certificate before he can process his residence visa.





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