Expatriates who own businesses in Kuwait, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, tanker drivers, barbers, butchers and mechanics, will be granted self-sponsorships without having to be affiliated to a Kuwaiti sponsor or 'kafil'.
The new measure is part of steps to be implemented by government aimed at finding proper alternatives to the kafil system," Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mohammad Al-Kandari told a press conference after a meeting with representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Kuwait has been subjected to pressure by some international human rights organizations over the existing kafil system. A new Labor Law that provides expats with more benefits is expected to be passed by the National Assembly during the upcoming legislative term. Senior officials had earlier indicated that the government is seriously mulling the idea of establishing a State commission for expats to replace the kafil system, which has been already abolished in neighboring Bahrain.
Recent press reports quoted ILO officials as saying that Kuwait is at risk of facing sanctions if it does not find proper substitutes for the kafil system. However, Al-Kandari refuted such reports, adding that Kuwait will always remain in full compliance with international labor regulations.
Speaking at the conference, also Regional Manager of the ILO Nada Al-Nashif revealed that Kuwait was one of the first countries to seek their help for finding a new labor system to replace the current sponsorship system, while ruling out the possibility of sanctions to be imposed against Kuwait should they fail to enforce the new labor law.
Al-Qabas also revealed that at least 60,000 expat workers do not possess civil identification documents that are registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, senior officials revealed. They blamed gross mismanagement on the Ministry's part for the lapse, and added that the errors were only discovered while data upgrades of employers and workers' files were being performed.
In related news, MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Head of the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee lashed out at the Cabinet for 'failing to take serious efforts to solve the issue of unskilled workers' population.'
Also, MP Dr. Salwa Al-Jassar, a member of the health, social and labor affairs parliamentary committee said that they would call for resolving the issue soon, in addition to addressing the 'non-existent employment' issue which will be reopened soon.