KUWAIT: As a result of the delay in addressing the demographic imbalance and population structure, the Council of Ministers asked many concerned sectors to prepare their proposals and visions in this regard as a prelude to forming a specialized technical team. This specialized technical team will be tasked with putting forth recommendations and practical steps in order to take immediate measures to reduce the number of expats in the country and review the procedures of bringing in labor in addition to other steps with regards to fees and services extended to them.
Sources said the Civil Service Commission, Central Statistics Department, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Public Authority for Manpower were informed about official circulars from the Council of Ministers as well as government departments who were asked to bring down the number of expat employees to a minimum with warnings against appointments on the rewards system.
The sources said the government is convinced that many issues kept it from fulfilling its promises to deal with the population structure, especially the circumstances that accompanied COVID-19 pandemic. Several issues got muddled during the period, creating obstacles and negatives in the labor sector. Many expat workers got stranded in their home countries for a long period, creating a labor crisis in the country and the issue of residency violators also got compounded, demanding immediate remedial measures.
The new government’s working program will directly include these remedial measures to address the issue of population imbalance and insist on reducing the number of expats to 30 percent within 15 years. The program will make sure that a certain percentage of expats will be reduced every year until the target number is achieved, focusing on stamping out the excess marginal labor, the sources said.
The sources said the openness to bringing in foreign labor to meet the market needs will not be expanded as some are demanding because the government and concerned authorities said that the Kuwait population is nearly five million – 1.5 million are Kuwaitis and the rest are expats. Two million of them are in the Manpower department alone which is a very large number exceeding Kuwait market needs – suggesting that the issue is not that of lack of labor but of bad distribution. The authorities are of the firm view now that many sectors have excess labor and they must be gotten rid of them.