KUWAIT: Restrictions for Foreign National Engineers, and Diploma Holders Under 30 Years Old

April 17, 2018


Effective immediately, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) requires engineers applying to renew or transfer their residence permits to present a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Kuwait Engineers Society (KES).

This is likely to particularly affect holders of engineering qualifications from universities that are not accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and not included in Kuwait Engineers Society’s list of accredited universities. In this case, engineers may need to pass a competence test before obtaining a NOC from KES.

This change follows the February 2018 decision that foreign national engineers can only obtain a work permit if the application is supported by a “To Whom It May Concern” letter from KES.

Diploma Holders Under 30 Years Old

The Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has also issued the decision that, effective 1 July 2018, foreign nationals under the age of 30 will not be allowed to obtain a work permit in Kuwait if they hold a university degree (diploma, bachelor’s, master’s or PHD).

Those aged over 30 holding a university degree will be able to apply for a work permit. However, those aged over 30 holding work permits based on a high school level of education who then obtain a university degree (“upgrade their certificates”) will have to exit Kuwait and obtain new work and residency permits based on the new educational level.


The moves are part of an ongoing attempt by the government to deal with the burgeoning expat population in Kuwait, which is purportedly straining local housing supplies and public services like the healthcare system.

Our Advice

Employers of foreign nationals working in Kuwait should check with their Newland Chase immigration specialist whether they are affected by the new restrictions.

For advice and information on immigration to Kuwait in general, please email us at [email protected]