Kuwait – Minimum Salary Increase for Dependent Sponsorship

The Kuwaiti Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has announced that, effective October 19, 2016, it has increased the minimum monthly salary requirements for foreign nationals sponsoring spouses and dependents for family and visit visas.

The minimum salary increases will apply to the following sponsorship types:

  • Residence
    • New salary requirement: KWD 450/month (about USD 1484/month)
    • Current salary requirement: KWD 250/month (about USD 825/month)
  • Visit Visa
    • New salary requirement: KWD 200/month (about USD 660/month)
    • Current salary requirement: KWD 150/month (about USD 495/month)

It should be noted that foreign nationals who are currently living in Kuwait with their dependents under the previous salary requirements will not be subject to the new rules.

The new policy exempts 14 occupations, including certain positions from the following fields:

  • Airline
  • Athletic
  • Education and Academic
  • Financial
  • Legal
  • Media
  • Medical
  • Mortuary
  • Religious

As the average monthly salary for foreign nationals in the private sector is KWD 251, even those in employment will have difficulty reaching the required salary requirement to sponsor their spouse and/or dependents. Only a small minority of foreign nationals earn enough to meet the new requirements. It is expected that exceptions to the new requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis on humanitarian grounds.

The MOI have stated that they are aware that this new policy may have an effect on the local economy and labour market, as well as on international relations, and therefore it will be implemented gradually over a prolonged period of time.

This increase has been implemented in order to reduce the number of expatriates living in Kuwait. The MOI estimate that the number of foreign nationals currently living in Kuwait amounts to 70% of the country’s total population.

Over 90 percent of private sector jobs are performed by foreign nationals. However, over the last 12 years, there has been a significant increase in unemployed foreign nationals, which has put a strain on the availability of housing and public services.