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Expatriates permitted to convert commercial visas into work permits

Beginning next year, expatriates can obtain work permits by transferring their commercial visa. This new regulation follows suspension of the current system from this month, in order to introduce amendments to impose stringent immigration criteria.

Work is now underway to introduce new controls and conditions for obtaining commercial visas, thereby preventing violations during the process of converting visas into work permits.


One of the conditions to obtain commercial visas is that all applicants should be university degree holders. This, however, is inadequate without a verifiable proof of this qualification.


The decision to change the old system by Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MSAL) follow concerns that the continued immigration of unskilled expatriate workers may negatively affect the demographic composition of Kuwait.


Kuwait is home to a population of 3.3mn, out of which, 2.2mn are expatriates from Asia. The unskilled labourers group currently constitute majority of the population in Kuwait.

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