Monday, August 27, 2012

Visit-to-work rules relaxed

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour has excluded workers in some technical professions from the condition of having a university degree when transferring from commercial visit visas to work visas. Ministry Undersecretary Mohammad Al-Kandari said the ministry wanted to make the process easier for employees. He said several government companies benefit from transferring visit visas into work permits, although that law easily allows them to obtain work visas. But the companies find it easier and quicker to make such a transfer.
Separately, Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah allowed the entry of two members of the Bahraini opposition group Al-Wefaq - Ramlah Abdelhameed and Nazi Kareemi - into Kuwait after they signed an undertaking to leave the country in three days. Sources said the two are banned from entering Kuwait for security reasons, adding that certain parties mediated with the minister to allow them to enter, arguing the ban was "illogical" and they have not done anything to harm Kuwait.
Meanwhile, a big fight broke out between two members of the majority bloc from the fourth constituency and belonging to the same tribe over demands for a constitutional monarchy and electing a popular government. Informed sources said one of the MPs urged members of the bloc to declare clear and frank stands in support of a constitutional monarchy so that the majority bloc will have one opinion in this regard. But the second MP objected to this, saying "it is not your right to ask us for something members of the bloc rejected completely". "You personally are not convinced with this constitutional monarchy demand and did not talk about it at the Assembly, but now you are adopting it to appease the Islamic Constitutional Movement to get their votes," he charged.
Legal experts expect the constitutional court to confirm that the five-constituency law is unconstitutional, and recommend that a new legislation be introduced to avoid any court action against the next Assembly. The court decided to start discussions on the law on Sept 5 to discuss the government's request. The sources said it is not the court that will issue a new law for the constituencies, which means that the 2009 National Assembly is obliged to do so, or an urgent decree for the same. The sources said an urgent decree cannot be issued until after the Assembly is dissolved, but they expected that there won't be an urgent decree because the government does not want to lose political allies who reject such a move.
Sources also revealed that weapons Kuwait has ordered from the US will be processed in October when the deal is signed officially. Sources said Kuwait may receive the first consignment of the arms during the second half of next year, adding that a military delegation will visit Washington to discuss the deal. Also, an Iraqi bloc has asked its government to reconsider economic agreements with regional countries that were signed since 2003, particularly with Kuwait. The Free Iraqi Bloc spokesperson Alia Nasif said "most economic and commercial agreements Iraq signed with the region's countries during the years following the fall of Saddam made Iraq a target to dump their products". "It is certain that most of those agreements were signed during circumstances that are different from what they are now," she said.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saudi Arabia 'best place for seeking jobs'

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's financial situation is stable and is the best place for seeking jobs, according to a consumer confidence survey conducted by Bayt.com in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Thirty-eight percent of Saudis who participated in the survey said the present financial condition was good, while 33 percent remained neutral in their opinion about the Kingdom's financial condition.

Forty percent of Saudi's participants said the job atmosphere in the Kingdom was positive, while 34 percent said there were many employment opportunities. However, 44 percent of Saudis thought that the number of employees had increased in their companies since 2011, while 42 percent said the number of workers remained the same or decreased.

Fifty-six percent of Saudis stated that their salaries were not sufficient in meeting their living expenses whereas 21 percent expected improvement in their jobs.

Speaking on job security, the majority of participants (63 percent) were neutral in their opinion, while half of them were not satisfied with their salaries.

Among the Saudi participants, 59 percent had a neutral or negative viewpoint on the impact of living costs, while 33 percent said housing expenses were increasing.

Thirty-eight percent of the Saudi participants said they wanted to purchase a car next year, while 66 percent intended to buy property.

Bayt.com conducted the survey from July 16 to Aug. 1 through the Internet in collaboration with Yougov, an institute for research and consulting. A total of 7,421 people from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan participated in the survey.

The survey highlighted growing job opportunities in the region. The response of participants in the survey was generally neutral toward their present living status, and only 28 percent of them replied that their financial condition was better than last year, while 65 percent said their earnings were not sufficient compared to their living status.

The study revealed that job prospects in MENA countries were high, and Saudi Arabia is one of the best places to seek jobs.

Roughly 33 percent of participants thought the economic conditions of MENA states have declined compared to 2011.

As for employment opportunities, 49 percent thought employment chances had dwindled in these countries, yet most participants were optimistic about 2013, as 51 percent of them hoped the financial condition of MENA countries would improve, with 44 percent expecting a good economic situation and job market.

Suhail Misri, deputy sales manager of Bayt.com, said that although the present conditions in MENA countries were not so good, most people were optimistic about the coming years.

As for employment, they were expecting a 24 percent increase in employees at companies within the next three years, though 61 percent of company executives did not think that would happen.

In the case of inflation, 38 percent of participants thought that living expenses had increased in MENA countries, and 36 percent expected that real estate would remain expensive.

ZAWYA ARTICLE