If you’ve chosen to expand to Kuwait, you have two options for hiring — tap into the local labor market or find talented foreign employees. If you go the second route, you must ensure that every foreign worker has the right visas and work permits in Kuwait. Companies just entering the market in Kuwait can also have trouble sponsoring work permits for employees, as they must be locally licensed and incorporated to do so.
Types of Work Visas in Kuwait
Kuwait offers several different types of visas that depend on the visitor’s entry requirements, length of stay, and trip purpose. The available options include:
- Tourist visa: Visitors can enter and travel around Kuwait with this visa. Applicants just need to answer certain questions and provide some basic information, such as contact details and a passport number.
- Visit visa: A visit visa is broken down into further categories depending on why the applicant is traveling to the country. A Kuwait company or relative must sponsor the applicant to obtain this visa.
- Residence visa: Any expatriate other than Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens must apply for a Kuwait residence visa to live in the country. There are three main types of this visa — work, domestic, and dependent.
- Entrance visa: Government and civil sector employees with an entrance visa can issue visas for joining providers, which requires a minimum amount of money for applicants to apply.
Requirements to Obtain Kuwait Work Visas
Most of your employees will need to obtain a residency visa before working for your company. This type of visa requires an employment offer from a private company or government organization. As the employer, you will then apply for the work permit or visa on behalf of your employees.
Required documents for a work visa include:
- A passport that’s valid at least six months before the expiration date
- A completed visa application issued by the Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- A passport-size photo
- An HIV/AIDS test
- A health certificate from a local doctor showing that the applicant is in good health and does not have a contagious disease
- Police clearance showing no criminal record
After submitting these documents, your employee will receive a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) that allows them to enter Kuwait. Once they come to Kuwait, they’ll receive a residency visa. After that, your employee can apply for a Kuwait Civil ID within 30 days of receiving the residency visa.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send a copy of the work permit to the Kuwait embassy in the employee’s country of residency. You should also send the employee a copy of their own work permit to take to the embassy in-person if necessary. If your employees live in a country without a Kuwait embassy, you must submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of Interior.
Other Important Considerations
The Private Sector Kuwait Labor Law has certain requirements for employers. For example, you must keep a file for each foreign employee that includes copies of their:
- Work permit
- Work contract
- Civil ID
- Documents related to annual and sick leave
- Overtime hours
- Work injuries or diseases if applicable
- End of service date and reasons for leaving the job
You’ll also need copies of receipts that all documents, tools, and certificates were returned to you after the employee’s service.
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