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Nearly 600,000 marginal workers to lose jobs in Kuwait

19 May 2020

Kuwait initiates its plan to replace expats with Kuwaitis, and as a first step, the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs, Walid Al Jasim announced the decision to suspend appoint expatriates and replace those present in the municipality.

This decision has led to popular and parliamentary support amidst calls for similar measures across all sectors in the country, to eliminate unproductive manpower.

Sources close to the marginal jobs’ file revealed a “containment” government plan to reduce these jobs as a first measure, followed by other serious steps, particularly laws envisaged to place an end to the “unreasonable increase” in proportion of expats, who exceeded 70 percent of the Kuwaiti population.

The sources confirmed that the replacement will be done soon, and its application in the government jobs would be more effective.

They further said that marginal workers (both legal and illegal) surpass 600,000 in number as per latest statistics, the number of violators were granted one-month grace period to leave the country paying by paying pending fines if any. This include about 168,000 workers, apart from 400,000 considered as marginal labours, as they do not work for their sponsors and work for daily wages.

The sources said that apart from marginal workers and residency violators, the non-technical workers, hired by government and private sector can be replaced, but, they often perform office work.

The substitution of expat workers in the government sector will be done in three months’ time after coronavirus dissipates, as expatriates will be screened in the government sector, and people who are hired by the outsourcing system in non-technical jobs will be laid off, and those working with contracts will not have their contracts renewed, irrespective of their positions, particularly, advisers in government agencies.

Meanwhile, government sector will develop educational and training programmes to qualify Kuwaiti youth to fill up specialised jobs.

The sources said new laws would be introduced soon, and this will put an end to the excessive increase in number of communities, and the quota system would be implemented so that the largest community will not exceed 20 percent of the number of expatriates, and members of one community will not dominate in proportion.

They further said that technical jobs in ministries of health and education will be filled up by talents from different countries and not focusing on specific countries, and said that the Education Ministry will hire teachers from Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Mauritania, while the Ministry of Health will recruit doctors from Pakistan and India.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.