[Kuwait] Expats over 60 could lose access to bank accounts

[Kuwait] Expats over 60 could lose access to bank accounts
15 Dec 2021

In Kuwait, a disputed ban on renewing work permits for expats over sixty has not yet been scrapped, leaving those who do not hold university degrees with the prospect of losing access to their bank accounts, Gulf News reports.

According to a local newspaper, access to such accounts is linked to holding a valid civil ID card. But banks in Kuwait will now be obliged to suspend such customers’ banking cards once the validity of their identification cards has expired.

As a result, customers in this category will have no access to their personal bank accounts and will be unable to make deposits or withdrawals, Al Rai newspaper said.

In addition, they will be left unable to transfer money to family members outside Kuwait.

Al Rai warned that freezing expatriates’ ability to transfer money could play into the hands of black marketeers, forcing people to turn to illegal methods and countering efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Under Kuwaiti laws, banks and foreign exchange offices are banned from conducting transfers without a valid civil ID card.

In October 2020, the Kuwaiti Legal Advice and Legislation Department reportedly invalidated the ban on employing expatriates above 60, saying it had no legal basis. The department - a Cabinet affiliate - said that the ban had been issued by the PAM director-general without authorisation.

The PAM board under the chairmanship of Minister of Trade and Industry Abdullah Al Salman later approved the revocation of the ban and endorsed a new renewal system.

Some categories of people are exempt from paying the renewal fees, Kuwaiti media reported at the time. These include children of Kuwaiti women and their husbands, holders of Palestinian nationality and those born in Kuwait. No clear date has been set for enforcing the new system that also includes mandatory health insurance.

The controversial ban went into effect earlier this year. It triggered an outcry among rights activists, who argued that it affects thousands of expatriates and their families who have been long-term residents in Kuwait.

Around 4,013 such expatriates have been forced out of the work market in Kuwait in the six months since the ban was enforced, according to recent reporting from Al Qabas newspaper.

Critics also said the restriction has harmed many employers and destabilised the labour market, robbing it of experienced workers.


Source: Gulf News

In Kuwait, a disputed ban on renewing work permits for expats over sixty has not yet been scrapped, leaving those who do not hold university degrees with the prospect of losing access to their bank accounts, Gulf News reports.

According to a local newspaper, access to such accounts is linked to holding a valid civil ID card. But banks in Kuwait will now be obliged to suspend such customers’ banking cards once the validity of their identification cards has expired.

As a result, customers in this category will have no access to their personal bank accounts and will be unable to make deposits or withdrawals, Al Rai newspaper said.

In addition, they will be left unable to transfer money to family members outside Kuwait.

Al Rai warned that freezing expatriates’ ability to transfer money could play into the hands of black marketeers, forcing people to turn to illegal methods and countering efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Under Kuwaiti laws, banks and foreign exchange offices are banned from conducting transfers without a valid civil ID card.

In October 2020, the Kuwaiti Legal Advice and Legislation Department reportedly invalidated the ban on employing expatriates above 60, saying it had no legal basis. The department - a Cabinet affiliate - said that the ban had been issued by the PAM director-general without authorisation.

The PAM board under the chairmanship of Minister of Trade and Industry Abdullah Al Salman later approved the revocation of the ban and endorsed a new renewal system.

Some categories of people are exempt from paying the renewal fees, Kuwaiti media reported at the time. These include children of Kuwaiti women and their husbands, holders of Palestinian nationality and those born in Kuwait. No clear date has been set for enforcing the new system that also includes mandatory health insurance.

The controversial ban went into effect earlier this year. It triggered an outcry among rights activists, who argued that it affects thousands of expatriates and their families who have been long-term residents in Kuwait.

Around 4,013 such expatriates have been forced out of the work market in Kuwait in the six months since the ban was enforced, according to recent reporting from Al Qabas newspaper.

Critics also said the restriction has harmed many employers and destabilised the labour market, robbing it of experienced workers.


Source: Gulf News

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