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The last few months have seen consistent changes to how expats are treated in Kuwait. Concerns over the numbers of expats flooding to the kingdom, together with the artificially high salaries they expect and the way they prevent native Kuwaitis from landing those same jobs are high on the agenda.
Now a further attack on the expat population in Kuwait seems sure to cause uproar when it is introduced. Like so many other recent changes its goal is to create more of a ‘level playing field’ for native Kuwaitis to obtain gainful employment. On the other hand many expats will see these new rules as cutting down on their freedom and the overall attractiveness of Kuwait as an expat destination.
The latest suggestions aim to place controls over expats driving in the kingdom. For starters, it has been proposed that expat workers should not be allowed to take up a profession involving driving – such as taxi drivers. The supposed goal is to curb the number of vehicles on the road which has led to serious congestion over recent months. However of course another benefit is that this industry will then open up for local Kuwaiti workers.
However this is really just the tip of the iceberg for expats in Kuwait. For one, new restrictions on even obtaining a driving license are currently being proposed. If approved, Kuwaiti driving licences would only be issued after a two year residency permit has been approved.
Furthermore, additional requirements must be met before a license is approved. Among these are both educational and financial; only those with a university degree earning over a certain salary will be entitled to a driving license in Kuwait. This new ruling is therefore most likely to impact the less educated and/or lower paid expats, while having little effect on those higher up the corporate ladder.
The proposed ruling will not just cut down the number of cars on the road, but has also been specifically designed to target drivers of older, less safe vehicles. In doing so, the newer vehicles should be left on the road, making for an overall safer driving experience for everyone with fewer vehicles and higher levels of safety helping to fuel this situation.
Note that there are some exclusions proposed, and the list can be considered extensive. Therefore expats living in Kuwait – or planning to do so – should check carefully to ensure they fully understand the new rules and whether or not they will be impacted. As always, in Kuwait, those caught breaking the rules are unlikely to be treated leniently.
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Expatriate Group & Expatriate Healthcare are trading styles of Strategic Insurance Services Limited who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA Firm reference Number is 307133. Strategic Insurance Services Limited is authorised to carry on Regulated Activities in accordance with the permissions granted by the FCA under PART IV of the Financial Services and Markets ACT 2000.