Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) issued administrative decision no. 520 of 2020 on Sunday 16 August that will prohibit issuing or renewing work permits for migrants aged 60 and above who hold high school diplomas or below.
The new decision amends article 29 of Order no. 552 of 2018 Regulating the Rules and Procedures for Granting a Work Permit and will be implemented starting from January 2021. According to official data, as reported by Al-Rai, there are currently more than 83,000 migrants over the age of 60 with general secondary qualifications or below that must leave when the decision comes into effect at the beginning of next year.
Many migrants expressed concern that the decision would break up their families and result in some parents leaving the country and with them their children whose residency permits are tied to them.
The proposal was submitted by MP Safa Al-Hashem, a prominent anti-migrant voice in Kuwait, in July this year. Al-Hashem’s proposal also included deporting migrants who are undergoing treatment in psychiatric hospitals, which, however, was not included in the decision.
Other Gulf countries have also set age limits for issuing or renewing work permits for migrants aged 60 and above with exceptions for highly qualified professionals or those with permission from relevant ministries.
Kuwait’s recent decision follows a series of proposals submitted by lawmakers to reduce the number of migrants in the country following the Covid-19 outbreak, including the quota bill which the Human Resources Development Committee (where the bill was referred to) recently recommended against as it could have a “serious negative impact on the domestic economy”.