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Kuwait’s Senior Expats Await New Fee Rules with Eagerness

The issue of high fees for renewing the work permits of non-graduate workers over sixty has sparked widespread controversy. Government agencies have imposed these fees, raising concerns about their impact on the labor market and investment climate.

Sources indicate that the decision might be reconsidered for the benefit of these workers. Continuing to impose these fees deprives the labor market of experienced and competent individuals, sending a negative message to potential investors and leading to a decline in investments.

The 250 dinars required for these workers to renew their work permits, along with obtaining a health insurance policy from a private hospital or insurance company, are part of policies aimed at reducing the foreign workforce and promoting citizen employment in various sectors.

Following the implementation of this decision, informed sources told the daily that there is an expectation the decision may be reviewed to offer some relief to this category of workers, especially considering upcoming projects and the potential for attracting capital and investors.

Many workers over sixty are highly experienced and competent in their respective fields. Continuing to impose these fees risks losing this valuable expertise, which negatively affects the quality of work in vital sectors. The high fees also increase operating costs for companies, especially SMEs (small and medium enterprises), potentially leading to reduced employment or even company closures. This, in turn, negatively impacts the overall economy and increases the prices of services or salaries for these workers.

One of the key factors attracting foreign investments is encouraging a favorable business environment. To address this, there may be a need to increase exceptions for some vital sectors that rely heavily on foreign expertise. This would help maintain the quality of services provided in these areas. Dual policies can be adopted to stimulate the employment of Kuwaitis while attracting necessary foreign talent. Such policies could include training and qualification programs for citizens and creating a stimulating work environment for all, sources say.

The issue of over-60 workers requires a careful balance between improving the labor market and protecting the economy from negative influences. By reconsidering policies and adopting measures that support investments, Kuwait can ensure a balanced and attractive work environment for talent and investors, enhancing its economic stability and growth.

Fahd Al-Arbash, head of the Restaurant Owners Union, emphasized that excluding workers over sixty from the labor market, despite their vast experience, negatively affects productivity and the economy. He noted that developed countries do not impose strict age restrictions but regulate working age by the constitution and law. Experience and creativity are crucial for professional workers who continue to innovate past sixty.

Al-Arbash highlighted that the departure of workers without the employer’s permission causes irreparable damage and exposes the employer to risks. He called for amending the law to better regulate employment in the private sector, similar to the government sector. He noted that human resources managers have sensitive powers, such as accessing electronic systems and approving transfers, which, if misused, could lead to legal accountability. Therefore, these powers must be clearly defined and responsibly managed. Al-Arbash urged the amendment of Articles 44 and 64 of the Labor Law in the Private Sector. He proposed that Article 44 should allow for the termination of an indefinite-term employment contract for a legitimate reason with written notice to the other party 30 days before terminating the contract, with a one-week notice for other workers.

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