Expat Round-Up: Testing Time For Engineers

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Hundreds of expat engineers have fallen foul of new working visa rules introduced by surprise in Kuwait.

The regulation bars expat engineers from renewing their visas unless they have a no-objection certificate from the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KES).

To gain the certificate, an engineer must have graduated from a university accredited to KES.

The aim is to ensure engineers are trained and qualified to an acceptable standard for the Kuwait government.

Many of the engineers working in Kuwait have qualifications from universities and colleges that have no KES accreditation.

To make matters worse, the KES offices in Kuwait City handle certificate applications in the evening, when they are inundated with queues of up to 400 worried workers seeking advice about their job status.

The KES is also demanding engineers who studied at accredited institutions should sit an exam before a certificate can be provided.

A spokesman for the government’s Public Authority of Manpower declined to comment on the problems engineers are facing but suggested other occupations may face a similar ruling. A government statement is expected soon.

Wives and widows win hearings

Saudi Arabia has restarted listening to appeals for nationality from foreign wives and widows of Saudi men.

A committee will score their applications, giving points for factors such as place of birth, qualifications and their planned length of stay in Saudi Arabia.

If the applicant scores 17 or more points, nationality is granted.

The government has also agreed divorced Saudi women should automatically receive custody of their children if they have no dispute with their former partner.

Ringing in the changes

Mobile phones are changing the way expats send their money around the world, according to a new report.

Expats are predicted to remit $225 billion to families and loved ones this year – rising to $300 billion by 2021.

The process is helped by phones aiding 247 digital payment services.

“The increase in digital P2P payments will be driven by the launch of new payment services from traditional transfer providers and digital only players,” says a report from consultancy Juniper, which carried out the study.

“The research found that traditional money transfer operators are expanding their digital footprint and, indeed, benefitting from their much-delayed expansion into digital payments.”

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