Gossip & Rumors

Teachers Working Illegally in Kuwait


Last month I read an article about teachers being deported after public authority inspectors started doing random checks at schools and finding out many of them were working on visit visas. I didn’t think of it much at first since I thought these incidents were taking place at random no-name schools around the country.

Last night though I found out from a teacher friend that some of the top ranked schools in Kuwait were being busted with one of the American schools in Hawalli having had 30 teachers deported. Another American school made 50 teachers not come into school for 3 days because they were expecting an inspection.

My guess is after the child sex offender was found working at a local American school, the government probably ran an investigation to see how he slipped through their background checks and realized that he was working here illegally. Obviously this is the fault of the schools but what I don’t understand is why they don’t get the teachers proper work permits in the first place. Is it to save money or are schools having visa issues like every other company in Kuwait?

47 replies on “Teachers Working Illegally in Kuwait”

Almost all Europeans Schools in Kuwait takes 3-6 months time for residency formalities. Main reason for delay is change of mind by westerns teachers after arriving to Kuwait and realizing the actual lifestyle here. Otherwise also in private sector its very common to wait for few months for residency process.

Some teachers think that keeping their visa on family sponsorship gives them some sort of freedom (female teachers specifically). They take the risk in this case that “legal” idemnity does not exist. School might also think it’s does not cost them admin and visa work.

Another reason I imagine would be that some schools might have reached the number of work visas allowed to be given to teachers and this is why they might ask teachers to travel every few months and get another visit visa from the airport ?

There seems to be a number of issues here. One of the main points is that a number of teachers are wives and therefore sponsored by their husbands. Some companies insist on this sponsorship arrangement and clearly that then means the wives would be working illegally – it does not mean however that they are unqualified. Some also choose to stay on their husbands sponsorship because of allowances, flights etc – schools do not give these to locally hired staff and if they transfer to school sponsorship they’ll lose it from their husbands companies too.

There are also the schools who, just like some of the companies out there, seem to struggle in getting the documentation completed for whatever reason.

The whole deportation thing will create issues though, you’ll find less and less qualified teachers willing to come and work in a country that regularly deports expats (and targets schools). You’ll also find that if wives under their husbands sponsorships are excluded from this work force then more people will have to be recruited to fill their places – this only increases the expat population. Counter-productive to the Govt’s stated intention of reducing the population.

The MoE should be more concerned that some schools seem to use unqualified teaching assistants to teach classes and curriculums only very loosely based on the ones they advertise. Also on the security side the MoE should ask for the police check from both the country of origin and the last country staff have worked in – and this should be for all staff, whatever their roles in the school as they all have access to the children.

sala6a and Alfie: Both of you mentioned married teachers but I think thats actually the minority of the incidents. Majority of the teachers are brought in from outside Kuwait and have American, Canadian or British passports (for example) and so can come and go as they please on visit visas. It’s those teachers I was told that are getting deported.

Mark you are right- the majority of illegal teachers here are ones who come from outside – not the wives- and a large majority are men.
These people can drift in and out without any background checks at all- some even work in other countries at the weekends and fly back up here Saturday night.
Someone at the Ministry of Private Education needs to get their finger out and sort this problem out- because a good few of these illegals are also teaching with either no or fake credentials.

The ministry is also doing inspections on teacher credentials and qualifications, and a lot of expat teachers do not have the appropriate qualification to be a teacher.

I did not get your post. What are you trying to say? My post was sarcastic and in reply to meh’s post. As it is true lots of teachers don’t have teaching diplomas and are not qualified for teaching just because sometimes they speak the necessary language and they are on dependent visas they can teach.
who do you think you are doodie?

A teacher left bayan bilingual school due to some child case a few months ago…I’m sure they are talking about him.

Wahab the teacher Mark was talking about was actually at Universal American School. The particular teacher at BBS had no child case against him it was a relative of his that did but parents blamed him for the relatives wrong doing.
And Mark is right they are targeting the Expat Teacher’s on visitor visas. I currently work at the school that had over 30 teachers sent home because they were on visitor visas and it has caused such a chaos and disruption amongst the staff who do have visas since we have to cover their slack. It’s really not fair.

Mark, you are hearing mostly true things.

However, let me clear a few things up/add a bit more detail, as a teacher at one of the ‘top schools’.

Residency is obtained for teachers where possible. There is no margin for error in terms of the process and it is very difficult and costly process. It personally cost me about 250KD before I even arrived in Kuwait to gain my residency. It took 6 weeks for me to gain residency and my school is very good at working with an ever changing process.

Schools plan for teachers arriving in August. Any hiccups with visa processes mean that there is little option but to leave them on visitor visas until they can get the paperwork done. If they are qualified, there should be a temporary work visa that can be applied for as we cannot leave students not being taught.

I must be clear that no teacher in my school can join without a criminal records check.

The wives of people working in schools seems to be another issue on top.

Kuwait must sort out ‘wasta’ and this visa process before they can deport. The issue is a school with an important ruling family can get away with this issue but a school without cannot.

The government need to stop victimising the people who are following advice of others. Fine the schools, but don’t stop the great things that a lot of teachers (of all nationalities) are doing here in Kuwait.

I’ve never written a comment on here and believe this blog puts a lot of good information for people on. I would ask that people only comment on what they know and not what they’ve heard.

so true. AT LEAST – now all expats know how it feels. NO more whiny white folk complaining about illegal asians – how does it feel biyatch!?

Is the salary the same for both teachers who is under the sponsorship of the school and who are Not?
i know some housewives who works in amerian and british schools just to get discounts for their children but experience and educational qualification they dont have.
My child who goes to a british school has to be moved to another class in the last term of the school year because they found out that the arab teacher does hot have actual teaching experience… Im like.. Hey its not a joke paying thousands of KDs to have my child taught by unqualified teacher. Though in the beginning i expected that the class teacher will be british blonde hair lady but i was introduced to an abaya dressed arab speaking teacher.

What’s wrong with an abaya-dressed arab speaking but QUALIFIED teacher?


I’d prefer her over a non-qualified “british blonde hair lady” for my child any day.

If you are asking specifically about the Abaya, or specifically about Arab, then there is nothing wrong, in theory. A person can be from any race or religion, and can also be qualified on paper, but there are differences that remain nonetheless.

A big part of the appeal of foreign schools isn’t ONLY the caliber of education, but the linguistic and cultural nuances that your child picks up from school. Most parents send their kids to an American school not just to get a good education (many arabs believe that American education is too easy and lax), they send them to learn the language natively at a young age (in effect giving the child another first language). As well as learn the culture (sometimes a little too much for many conservative arab parents)

A few months ago I pulled my daughter out of her daycare. She was in a British daycare run by British ladies. Her particular class was taught by a lovely indian lady. She was well qualified and was very nice to the children (loving and caring). However my daughter started counting numbers, and this is how it would sound: One, Two, Tree (think of three in an indian accent). She also started saying ve (we in an indian accent). So even though I knew my kid was being well cared for by a qualified teacher I wasn’t getting what I paid for. A proper English accent, and some western culture infused along the way. No offense to indian culture or indian accent, but its not what I was paying for, or what I chose when putting her in that daycare.

Hope that makes sense. And even though it is obvious I will just state for the record that I am talking about qualified teachers. An unqualified teacher of any nationality is potentially dangerous and shouldn’t even be allowed near children.

You have a point… While my child was handled by the abaya dressed teacher (i say it this way coz i dont wanna mention the nationality), she sent my child to the social worker 3 times for silly children behavior and that affected my child a mom it was a big hit for me but i kept my patience coz my child loves his classmates.
When my child was moved to another class the lovely teacher there expressed her appreciation towards my child class contribution and behavior… See the difference between qualied and not.

The prob is that the abaya dressed teacher didnt have the actual teaching qualification and her papers are not legit thats why her class was closed down… She was there coz of wasta… I have nothing against abaya dressed teachers though.

A well known girls school in Salwa has a woman at the top – no abaya – whose name can be found on a list of people in he Middle East who have purchased fake MAs….. Check that one out. How did SHE get past the ministry?

I believe it has got to do with the limit of visas (Quota) per school against the percentage of “Kuwaitinization” (I heard it was 30% by law) in any type of company/work force. So in order to have 7 teachers/workers/etc. that are expats, you must also have 3 that are Kuwaiti, which is not the case as per observed. Not sure though, maybe someone else has more light to shed on this.

If that’s a reason, then good riddance. Most of the schools do not hire Kuwaitis for the simple fact of their nationality, even though they are more qualified than a lot of the expats in the schools. Even in the rare case that they are hired, they are assured of being stuck as teachers for the rest of their lives with no room for promotions, because ‘you cannot have a Kuwaiti heading a department in an American/English school’.

All of the schools do this. Some even have different sign in/out registers for sponsored and unsponsored staff. The huge ones with wasta get away with it and make sure smaller competitors nearby get closed down (as happened to several in Salwa near to a large purple school). One, in Jabriya on the corner of the Fahaheel Expressway and the Fifth Ring Road, gives it’s unsponsored staff visitor ID’s for the day. Another in block 11 of Salwa sends staff over to Mcdonalds in Salwa Park until they leave. One in Salmiya by the International Clinic sends staff over to a nearby mall. Children may be asked to stay at home because greedy schools are squashing more children into the classroom than is permitted by law. Why does this committee not look at the names of the staff on the classroom doors? Why does it not look at attendance registers for children and staff. Why does it not look into school accounts to find out who is being paid, but is not sponsored by the school? And where are the 2% of Kuwaitis, employed under Kuwaitisation laws? Usually relatives of the owners on the books but never do a day of work. These committees are not serious about their work, they just target certain schools on behalf of greedy prominent people who own larger schools and do not want competition.

Someone’s a bit bitter, just out of curiosity; did a school you owned/worked in get closed down as a result of these bullies?

I work in investment banking. I do however know many teachers who are super bitter (primarily at their own schools’ admin).

This has been going on for years, a Kuwaiti friend of mine used to have so many teachers asking for residency on any company just to be legal and have a CID. These days they will tell them to wait their 100 days before they will even start to apply for their visas and some places make the teachers pay for it. I was offered a job in administration at a school in Hawally until they told me I would have to pay for my transfer and other visa requirements so I turned it down. I can’t imagine kids watching their teachers run out of the school leaving them with whoever is available. This is what 3000 KD a year provides, rich get richer and the ones making them the money get hassled.

Utter rubbish.

If you are talking about worldwide taxation, only the US operate this system and being paid by cash will not stop the IRS chasing you.

Americans who work overseas do not have to pay taxes for income in the amount of $90,000 or less. They do have to file an income tax return, even if they made less than $90,000 and do not owe taxes. Most American teachers in Kuwait make approximately $45,000. If they file their return and follow a few stipulations put forth by the IRS they should be safe. The amount of money made by teachers in Kuwait is very low; however, teachers should protect themselves and file a return. In some states, teachers have to verify that they filed a return in the previous year when they are applying for a job stateside. American teachers should really file a 1040 tax form to protect themselves! Someday you might want to work in the states, buy a house or a car. Maybe you just want to verify where you have been and what you have been doing.
PS I am not a tax professional. Seek out information regarding taxes from a professional accountant or lawyer. I am just putting information out there for people to consider.

Ninja- there is no to here….. Anyway….
Within the last few years we have had several dodgy characters here in Kuwait teaching- remember the recent paedophile teacher employed and on the run from authorities in India?
So, here’s another one: it’s an old story but apparently this woman ( sold cigarettes to school kids at sports day and did a quiz with a class of SPECIAL NEEDS kids on ‘who is most likely to get raped?’ ) was banned by the ( now defunct ) GTC ( general teaching council ) of Britain. Her name then was Fiona Forster but now apparently goes by variations of that name ( including Alison ) and has already been teaching in Kuwait at three different schools in the past seven years. She is approximately 50 years old but may have given false age also, is British. This is a link to the UK news story.

To most Kuwaitis it doesn’t matter if the teacher is qualified or not as long as they’re British or American, and this comes from my experiences working in schools here.

I am very pleased after reading all your post. My intentions was to teach in Kuwait by 2017. its like A black African may not even be employed. I welcome your comments. Thanks

I have also learnt of the bad treatment of African women there is it same to the men. the story the women tell is very pathetic

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