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Expats to be allowed to take part-time jobs

KUWAIT: In about two weeks, a law that will allow expatriates to pursue part-time jobs in the private sector is expected to be approved. However, the regulation will have some conditions attached to it. The workers should already be employed by the private sector and should seek permission from their employers allowing them to work part-time in the private sector. An announcement regarding the same was made by the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hamad Al-Kandari during a recent press conference.

The ministry has also promised to disseminate more information about the new decree before it is implemented in two weeks’ time. The regulation will be circulated throughout state departments, including the Immigration General Department, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Management and Government Restructuring program and the Kuwait Trade Union Federation. These agencies were part of the consultative committee for labor affairs and were consulted during the initial discussion relating to the formulation of the new law.

But why is the government enforcing this law now? Kandari pointed out that the new regulation is aimed at helping fill available vacancies in the local labor market, thereby limiting the process of recruiting additional labor from outside the country.  At present, expat employees in the public sector are only allowed to work in other companies if they have secured the ministry’s approval. Ahmed, a government sector employee, admitted that he has been working part time in a private company. But said he had failed to seek permission for doing so or while accepting the job offer.

“We are allowed to take on other jobs as long if we have permission, but I was warned by a friend to avoid doing so as it involves going through a complicated process. So I decided to work with a private company without taking prior permission. I am, however, aware that once the MSAL discovers that I have a second job, I can get into trouble and so can the company, which has employed me. If the proposed law is implemented, I will be able to work without fear or hesitation,” he stated.

Working two jobs simultaneously is considered illegal in Kuwait, although many workers choose to take this risk in order to improve their financial conditions and make ends meet due to the high cost of living and to supplement their low government sector salaries with the extra money made through private jobs.

A human resource specialist admitted that there is a shortage of staff in almost all sectors because of many contributing factors. “The existent attitude of employers and employees is changing because of the prevailing financial conditions and other related circumstances,” the human resource manager told Kuwait Times. He added that many factors contribute to the shortage of staff at several establishments including the financial crisis as well as the ‘Kuwaitization’ policy whereby companies are unable to hire additional staff because of labor restrictions.

These vacancies can be easily filled with locally hired labor and without resorting to recruiting workers from abroad,” Jamal Al-Dawsary, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor told Kuwait Times. He added that special regulations will be enforced to prevent private companies from manipulating current laws so that they can hire foreign workforce for employment in Kuwait and later abandon these workers who are then forced to search for employment opportunities in the local market.

source : Kuwait Times

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