Indian engineers in Kuwait fret over new residence permit norms

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on March 29, 2018

Uncertain future The Kuwaiti government move may lead to the expulsion, and repatriation, of 60-70 per cent of Indian expats working there   -  Getty Images

Approval process requires NBA accreditation of engineering colleges, which many reputed institutions do not have

More than 15,000 Indian graduate engineers working in Kuwait are facing an uncertain future with the West Asian nation suddenly changing the norms for residence permit for expatriate engineers two weeks ago.

On March 11, the Kuwaiti government’s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) issued a circular saying all expat engineers working there have to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE) to renew their residence permit.

“The present situation is quite alarming, as most of the engineers are unable to renew their residence status due to the immediate implementation of the circular,” said a representative of the Progressive Professional Forum (PPF), which represents Indian professionals working in Kuwait.

This may lead to the expulsion of 60-70 per cent of Indian engineers working in Kuwait from their present jobs, forcing them to be repatriated, interrupting the children’s academics, he said.

Indian engineers are worried because the KSE issues no-objection certificates only after verifying the accreditation of the colleges from which the professionals have graduated, and the courses taken by them.

For this, it follows the accreditation list of India’s National Board of Accreditation (NBA), which is not a regulatory authority, unlike the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Besides, as the NBA began to function as an autonomous body only from January 2010, many older engineering institutions are not accredited to it.

“Today, most of the engineering colleges in India including many IITs do not figure in the accredited list of NBA,” said Anil Kumar PN, general secretary of PPF Kuwait.

Written test

Those who are not from NBA accredited institutions may have to clear a written test to renew their residence permit. It is said that a large number of panicked Indian engineers have been approaching the KSE office since the day of notification, seeking clarity.

PPF Kuwait has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Indian Ambassador to Kuwait K Jeeva Sagar, but is yet to hear from them.

“NBA is not a regulatory body to evaluate all IITs, NITs, State government engineering colleges and private engineering colleges. It functions as a third-party organisation to review the quality of education and its jurisdiction is limited to evaluating the exchange programmes of international educational institutions,” the PPF wrote in its representation to the Indian government.

Possible remedies

It suggested that the Indian government could provide the list of AICTE-approved colleges to the KSE, for the latter to use to issue no-objection certificates.

It also sought the immediate intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure status-quo is maintained till a solution is arrived at by the Indian and Kuwaiti governments.

BusinessLine has written to Indian Embassy officials in Kuwait, but there has been no response till the time of going to press.

Published on March 29, 2018

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