Any expat opportunity in Kuwait is bound to be a lucrative one. Prepare for a commendable career boost in the country that has huge oil reserves and exciting opportunities for expats. Thousands of foreigners have established their careers in Kuwait. If you are looking to read about Kuwait Work Visa Requirements and Immigration Process, you have come to the right place.
Did you know that Kuwait has one of the lowest unemployment rates globally? There are no personal income taxes either.
What one needs to note is that Kuwait encourages local workforce to utilise the job opportunities higher up in the career ladder, thereby making it harder for expats to apply for these roles. The advantage is that expats are not required to know the local language in order to qualify for a job opportunity. This opens the doors to numerous multinational firms.
Expats with specialised skills are on high demand in Kuwait - a country with a booming economy. Expats are generally not granted citizenship despite their extended stay in the country.
Kuwait Labour law specifies two types of work visas.
Article No 17 Public Sector Employees
Article No 18 Private sector Employees
Obtaining the work Permit
All expats are required to obtain a work permit before taking up employment in the country. The exceptions are nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. These work permits are issued when the expat possesses a valid employment agreement.
All members of the GCC are entitled to work in Kuwait without having to go through any formalities. Any resident who has lived in Kuwait for 20 years or more can sponsor themselves if financially able.
Sponsoring Company/employer must apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour . The documents required at the time of application are Copy of the employee’s passport showing the sector, No objection Certificate from the General Administration of Criminal investigation at the Ministry of Interior.
Documents Required for work permit
- Passport ( Original and copy) with 6 months validity remaining
- Visa application form duly filled with necessary declarations
- Passport-size photographs
- Latest bank statement and a copy
- Travel health insurance confirmation letter stating coverage
- Reference letter from your employer or educational institution
- Visa fee
- NOC from the General Administration of Criminal investigation at the Ministry of Interior.
The employer functions as a sponsor to the expat employee while in Kuwait. The company takes care of all the admin work, visa application and bank account registration. The sponsor is also responsible for the expat and plays the role of the local guardian. The NOC is required from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior.
Once the visa has been issued, male expats request for a sponsor for spouse and children to join them in Kuwait. Separate visas are applied for when the dependants choose to work in Kuwait.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait now send the copy of the work permit to the Kuwaiti Embassy in the country where the employee resides for endorsement. The sponsor /employer also sends a copy of the work permit to the employee to be taken to the embassy. The employee must now apply for an entry visa. Employees in the private sector companies also require NOCs along with the copy of the employer’s authorised signatory as registered for all business purposes.
In case the employee lives in a country that does not have a Kuwait embassy, the sponsor submits the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of the Interior to get an entry visa.
Documents required for entry visa
- Copy of the sponsor’s civil ID (please refer to Article (19) residents)
- Copy of the dependant’s passport (for Article (19) residents)
- Salary certificate of government sector (for Article (19) residents)
- Copy of company contract and/or license
- Copy of the attested marriage contract or proof of kinship document
- Copy of work permit t0 define the salary condition of civil sector employees (must meet the minimum requirement for salary)
- Visa application form duly filled with necessary declarations (with 6 months validity remaining on the passport)
- Passport-size photography
- Copy of the sponsor's signature
- Copy of the sponsor's letter of invitation
- Job offer
Most expats have to return to their home country to undertake medical tests and required endorsements from the embassy. The employee must provide a medical report from the Kuwait consulate recognised Clinics to prove that their general state of health is good and that they are free of specific epidemic diseases mainly tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.
In most cases, vaccination is not required. In case the visitor comes from an area that is infected by a viral disease like yellow fever or cholera. The certificates indicate that the visitor is healthy and won’t be transmitting any diseases. In case the visitor is from one of the infected countries, they might also be subjected to medical examination within a few days after their arrival. The visitor will also have to confirm the last country visited.
Medical tests for dependants
Upon entering the country, the dependent has to undergo medical tests and have his fingerprints taken. The dependent have to provide similar documents to the ones provided by the sponsor except for salary certificate. The last requirement for this procedure is the sponsor’s declaration that he’s going to maintain and support the dependent as long as he stays in Kuwait.
After issuance of Visa
After receiving the work visa the sponsor should send visa to the employee in his home country
If there is no Kuwait embassy representation in the employee’s home country, the sponsor will obtain an entry permit from the Ministry of Interior in Kuwait and have it sent to the employee.
We at GOHLS stay up-to-date on the regulations that change without prior notice. Give us a call if you are looking for opportunities in the IT space and we would like to take you through the various processes and assist you in obtaining a lucrative career at Kuwait.