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Kuwait – Draft bill proposed for tougher penalties for recruitment violators

19 June 2014

A draft law has been submitted to amend article 138 of the Private Sector Labour Law to impose tougher penalties on those proven to have violated recruitment regulations, reports arabtimesonline.com.

MP Kamil Al-Awadhi, the author of the proposal, submitted the draft in a bid to protect the rights of workers and interests of Kuwaiti society. 

He proposed that: “Whoever violates the third paragraph of article 10 of this law will be imprisoned for not more than five years and fined not less than KWD 5,000 (USD 17,693) and not less than KWD 10,000 (USD 35,387); or any one of these penalties.” 

Article 10 of the existing labour law specifies the procedures and rules for the recruitment of non-Kuwaitis in a way that enables the relevant ministry to control and regulate the labour market. This is done in accordance with the goal to gradually replace expatriate personnel with national manpower.

Article 10, therefore, prohibits employers from hiring non-Kuwaitis without obtaining a work permit from the concerned labour department.

These measures are aimed at limiting the number of marginal workers in the country and organising the labour market to ensure that an expatriate labourer works only for the employer hiring them from abroad. This also obligates the employer to shoulder the expenses for the labourer’s repatriation.

Mr Al-Awadhi argued that the penalties specified in the current version of the law are unequal to the gravity of the violations. He added that this has led to a proliferation of jobless expatriates; thereby, posing a grave threat to the social fabric. The rising crime rate, he explained, is a result of a large number of marginal workers compelled to engage in criminal acts to fulfil their financial obligations.

Both the Parliament and government have reportedly endorsed the proposal.

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