International Health Insurance News: Kuwait axes sponsorship system -
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International Health Insurance News: Kuwait axes sponsorship system

Overseas medical insurance policyholders considering moving to Kuwait for work could be swayed by the news that the country is set to axe its controversial sponsorship system for expatriate workers next February.

Mohammed al-Afasi, minister of social affairs, is quoted by AFP news agency as saying that the programme will end when a public authority focusing on the recruitment of expat health insurance customers is established early next year.

"This will be our gift to foreign workers on the anniversary of Kuwait's liberation," he said, referring to the seven months of Iraqi occupation in 1991.

Kuwait's 2.3 million expatriate employees have had to gain sponsorship from their employers in order to work in the country, although this practice has eased considerably in the last few years, meaning expats can find a new job without the approval of their sponsor after three years of work.

In 2009, the country's parliament voted through a series of measures that would enforce foreign workers' rights, such as receiving a minimum wage and being provided with decent accommodation while working.

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