The Kuwaiti Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has announced this month that it has increased the minimum monthly salary requirements for foreign nationals sponsoring spouses and dependents for family and visit visas.
This increase has been implemented in order to reduce the amount of expatriates living in Kuwait. The MOI estimate that the number of foreign nationals currently living in Kuwait amounts to 70 percent of the country”s total population. Over 90 percent of private sector jobs are performed by foreign nationals. However, over the last 12 years, there has been a significant increase in unemployed foreign nationals, which has put a strain on the availability of housing and public services.
The minimum salary increases will apply as follows:
The new policy exempts 14 occupations groups, including certain positions from the following fields:
- Education and Academic
The increase aims to reduce the number of unemployed foreign nationals; being that the average monthly salary for foreign nationals in the private sector is 251 KWD, even those in employment will have difficulty reaching the required salary requirement to sponsor their spouse and/or dependents. Only a small minority or foreign nationals earn enough to meet the new requirements.
It should be noted that foreign nationals who are currently living in Kuwait with their dependents under the previous salary requirements will not be subject to the new rules. Maj. Gen. Talal Maarafi, Director General of MOI”s Department of Residence Affairs, has advised that the new requirements will not be enforced retroactively and will only apply to dependent visa applications submitted after the implementation date of 19th October 2016.
It is also expected that exceptions to the new requirements will be considered on a case by case basis on humanitarian grounds; however an evaluation will be carried out to determine whether the foreign national earns sufficient funds to support their family.
The MOI have stated that they are aware that this new policy may have an effect on the local economy and labour market, as well as on international relations, and therefore it will be implemented gradually over a prolonged period of time.
Foreign nationals applying to sponsor their dependents for residence or visit visas in Kuwait after 19th October 2016 should ensure that they meet the minimum salary requirements as listed above.
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