COVID-19: Kuwait to lay off 600,000 marginal workers

gulfnews, 19-05-2020 15:23:03

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COVID-19: Kuwait to lay off 600,000 marginal workers

Kuwait to apply quota system so that largest community will not exceed 20% of expats

Abu Dhabi: The first step towards replacing expats with Kuwaitis, taken the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Walid Al Jasim, has led to popular and parliamentary support, amid calls for similar steps in all sectors across the country, to get rid of unproductive manpower.

While Al Jasim’s decision to suspend appointing expatriates and replace those present in the municipality stirred the stagnant water on the issue of Kuwaitisation, sources close to the marginal jobs’ file revealed a “containment” government plan to reduce these jobs as a first step, to be followed by serious other steps mainly laws envisaged to put an end to the “unreasonable increase” in the proportion of expats, who exceeded 70 per cent of the Kuwati population.

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

One month grace

They said the marginal workers, both legal and illegal, exceeded 600,000, according to the latest statistics, the number of violators of residency who were granted a one month grace period to leave the country without paying any fines incurred by them, amounts to 168,000, in addition to more than 400,000 who can be considered marginal labour as they do not work for their sponsors and work for daily wages.

The sources said that, in addition to marginal workers and residency violators, there is also workforce that can be replaced, which is non-technical workers who are hired by the government and the private sector, but they often perform office work.

The sources added the replacement of foreign workers in the government sector will be applied within three months after coronavirus dissipates, as expatriates will be screened in the government sector, and whoever is hired by the outsourcing system in non-technical jobs will be laid off, and those who work with contracts will not have their contracts renewed, regardless of their positions, especially advisers in government agencies.

The sources pointed out that government sectors will develop educational and training programmes to qualify Kuwaiti youth to fill up specialised jobs.

The sources said new laws, to be introduced soon, will put an end to the excessive increase in a number of communities, and that the quota system will be implemented, so that the largest community will not exceed 20 per cent of the number of expatriates, and members of one community will not dominate any proportion. They noted that the technical jobs in the ministries of education and health will be filled up by talents from different countries, and not focusing on specific countries, explaining that the Education Ministry will hire teachers from Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia and Mauritania, while the Ministry of Health will recruit doctors from India and Pakistan.

The head of the Human Resources Development Committee at the National Assembly, Khalil Al Saleh, said his committee repeatedly warned against the increase in the number of expatriates and called for replacing expats with Kuwaitis in government jobs, and the approval of the quota system.

“Marginal employment is blamed for the lack of growth and the depletion of the country’s resources, and the government has become obligated to take strict measures to address this file, by drying its sources of illicit business of visas, and applying the quota system.

MP Safa Al Hashem said she supports the application of the quota system on condition that the number of a people of one community does not exceed 100,000, calling for suspending hiring of expatriates into sensitive positions and their control of the government decision.

“It is unacceptable that Kuwaitis account for less than 30 per cent of the population,” she said.

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