Kuwait is the third-largest oil producer in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It has great wealth and is of tremendous strategic importance, as was shown by the world’s response to the Iraqi invasion of 1990/91. The Iraqi invasion had a significant impact on the Kuwaiti economy, both in terms of damage to the oil industry and exports and because of the cost of paying the military forces called in to eject the Iraqis. Kuwait and its people also lost a significant portion of their wealth through its unlawful ‘confiscation’ by the Iraqis. In spite of this, however, much of the country’s assets were safely invested overseas and the government in exile managed to retain control of these vital resources.
Finding a job in Kuwait isn’t easy – especially as foreigner. Our job guide provides information about salaries, contracts and working conditions. Look in the classifieds for positions available and post an ad with your details. Chat with other job-seekers in the forums.
Expatriates aren’t generally allowed to become part of the permanent population. Foreign workers are dealt with in a fair but controlled way, paid and treated well, and at the end of their time in the region, thanked and rewarded for their efforts. On the other hand, the government is conscious of the need to provide decent jobs with career paths for their own young people, who are increasingly educated and aware of the attractions of the outside world – many attend universities in the USA or UK. Having made major investments in education and social welfare, they hope that eventually Kuwait will become almost self-sufficient in terms of labour.
SALARY & WORKING HOURS
Because the region has no personal taxation, net income is usually much greater, which is one of the major attractions of working in Kuwait. In the past, remuneration packages were split into various elements: basic salary, car provision or allowance, housing provision or allowance, medical cover, education for children and air tickets for home visits. Today, however, employers tend just to pay a salary, which covers all these expenses, although in some cases there are performance or other bonuses.
Note that some Arab companies regularly delay the payment of salaries, cash flow problems being passed on to their staff. In this event, you have little alternative but to wait.
WORKING HOURS & OVERTIME
The working week in Kuwait tends to vary between 40 and 48 hours, depending on the particular company’s policy. Office hours are usually from 8.30 or 9.00 am to 5.30 or 6.00 pm. There are no differences in time keeping between summer and winter. In the month of Ramadan, the working day is reduced to six hours and legally this should apply to all staff, but many companies only apply it to Muslims, who fast during daylight hours.
Friday is the Muslim rest day and, if your company has a five-day working week, the other day off will probably be either Thursday or Saturday. Saturday is the more popular choice for international companies, as taking Thursday off would mean a reduction in the number of operational days in common with much of the rest of the world. Conversely, other companies insist on Thursday, as the school ‘weekend’ is Thursday and Friday.
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