x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Kuwait fires more than 1,000 expatriates in a bid to create jobs for local population

Some 12,000 Kuwaitis are unemployed

A foreign worker walks along Kuwait City’s corniche. The Kuwait government announced in March that it aimed to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country by 100,000 each year. 
A foreign worker walks along Kuwait City’s corniche. The Kuwait government announced in March that it aimed to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country by 100,000 each year. 

Kuwait has fired over 1,600 expatriate employees this year – almost three times the amount of expatriates it dismissed in all of 2017.

The move was made in a bid to reshuffle the country’s expat workforce and create more opportunities for locals in the public sector.

The Civil Service Commission announced that 1,629 expatriate workers were fired from government jobs this year, compared to the 666 let go in 2017.

The move is part of the government's attempt to reshuffle an ageing foreign population often accused of taking advantage of an inflated government payroll.

Safaa Al Hashem, a populist member of parliament, last year criticised some government sectors for having more than forty consultants, "doing what exactly?”

Read more: Pressure on expats as Kuwaitis face economic squeeze

Some members of parliament have taken to criticising Kuwait’s growing expatriate population, which Egyptians comprise a quarter of.

Most recently, some parliamentarians blamed non-Kuwaitis for the country's traffic, suggesting the expatriates be at least 40 years old to receive a license, with some even going as far as suggesting barring the issuance to non-Kuwaitis.

“It requires a rethinking of the road structure and organisational principles, it has little to do with the expatriates,” Faisal Al Atal, Chairperson of the Kuwait Society of Engineers, told reporters.

Earlier this week, a panel set up by parliamentarians invited two cabinet ministers - the Minister of Social Affairs, Hind Al Sabeeh, and the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Anas Al Saleh - to discuss speeding up the government’s commitment to replacing expatriates with Kuwaitis in the government sector.

According to the latest statistics, some 12,000 Kuwaitis remain unemployed in a country that guarantees employment to all its citizens.

Kuwait, a country of approximately four million is comprised of only 1.3 million Kuwaitis. In the public sector, Kuwaitis make up 76.1 per cent.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education also announced 2,000 teaching jobs in public schools.

The move aims to reshuffle the country’s ageing teaching staff and bring in new teaching methods to renovate Kuwait’s public education system.