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Panel puts in place new controls to tackle labor market conditions

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Strategy relies on encouraging capital-intensive economic activities

KUWAIT CITY, March 31: A specialized committee comprising of representatives of six government agencies – the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Secretariat for Planning, and the National Committee for the Prevention of Human Trafficking – has put in place new controls to amend the conditions of the labor market and fix the imbalances of the local component, provided they are applied within the state’s development plan, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to a report issued by the committee, the strategy relies mainly on encouraging capital intensive economic activities to expand projects that rely on advanced technology in a way that increases productivity and reduces the need for more expatriate workers.

Government agencies are seeking to consolidate work values in various institutions, raise productivity, and confront manifestations of sluggishness in work, in addition to increasing the contribution of Kuwaitis in the private sector by encouraging employment programs for national workers. The state seeks to control the inflation of workforce in the government sector by adjusting their numbers according to international levels, adjusting employment standards through transfer programs, and encouraging young people to work in the private sector.

The report showed the relevant authorities’ tendency to support Kuwaiti craftsmen with incentives to make them competitive, especially in government procurement and support for small and medium enterprises, by addressing operational obstacles and providing material support and administrative facilities. Regarding the recruitment of new expatriates, the report concluded that government agencies have already started implementing the system of accreditation of academic qualifications as a condition for renewing work permits.

The issuance of any professional title except from previous accreditation from the relevant authorities was applied recently to engineers and 20 other professions related to learning difficulties and specializations for people with disabilities. It is decided that the state authorities will control the process of granting commercial licenses for investment activities and will link them with the necessary academic qualifications, in addition to developing a system that allows the registration of workers in the private sector under the sponsorship of the project for a period not exceeding the period of its implementation, and with the inability to transfer the workers during the project.

The state authorities intend to work on establishing companies specialized in providing various domestic services, and offering a system of family services, and legalizing the direct recruitment of domestic workers by citizens. According to an informed source from PAM, workers registered with companies in violation of the labor law cannot amend their conditions through personal review of the Inspection Department of the Employment Protection Sector.

The authority has not set a deadline to amend the conditions of registered workers on companies that violate the labor law, such as those late in paying salaries, or with suspicions of residency trafficking, or have been flagged for other violations related to the rights of the workers. PAM’s efforts to preserve the rights of workers and accomplishing their transactions are ongoing. The source added that PAM had recently transferred three files to the Public Prosecution containing hundreds of labor cases, and suspicions of residency trafficking, some of which are currently being investigated while others have been referred to the judiciary.

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