1.150m expats ‘iqama’ revoked; ‘Labor market sees huge increase after pandemic’

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KUWAIT CITY, May 1: According to official government data, the residencies of 1.150 million expatriates were revoked in the last three years, including 67,000 who left the country between January 2022 and April 2023. “Administrative deportation” decisions were issued against 11,000 of them in the first quarter of this year, while last year witnessed the cancellation of 56,279 expatriate residences, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to informed sources, the revocation of the aforementioned residencies is due to many reasons, on top of which is the desire of the residency owner to leave, and the issuance of deportation decisions for violating the work and residency laws.

Meanwhile, as the world celebrates the International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1 every year, the local labor market has witnessed the entry of large numbers of labor force recently, despite the closure that the market witnessed coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions on many sectors. An official data revealed that the year 2022 recorded a remarkable recovery in the labor market, represented by the entry of 67,000 workers into the country for the first time, 64 percent of who are domestic workers as the highest attracting sectors for labor, while the remaining number is distributed among the rest of the sectors.

Based on official data, about 227,000 expatriates left the country in 2021, most of whom are working in the private and family sectors as “domestic workers”. About 160,000 expatriates left the country and were not compensated. With the exception of the family sector, the new employment targeted seven main activities in the private sector. The construction sector witnessed a boom in the number of registrants during the past year, rising to 218,000 workers from only 100 thousand in 2021. In the “wholesale trade” sector, the volume of new registered employment increased by a total of 6,000 to reach 64,000 workers in the field, along with 146,000 in “manufacturing industries”, which witnessed an increase of 23,000 over 2021.

Despite the complaints of the fishing and agricultural sector about the lack of employment, the government reports revealed an increase of approximately 11,000 workers between 2021 and 2022. The total employees in this field was approximately 74,000. It was noticeable that employment decreased in two other activities, namely “accommodation and restaurants”. The number of registrants reached 686,000 as of the end of last year, which is a decrease of 59,000 in 2021. The same applies to professional, scientific and technical activities, which witnessed a decrease of 7,000 workers.

The labor market reports highlighted a significant decrease in the total number of Kuwaitis registered to work in the private sector during the year 2022. It reduced to 71,883 at a rate of 389 citizens, compared to 2021. The total number of their counterparts in the government sector agencies reached 370,814 until the end of last year, which is an increase of 13,000 over the number registered in 2021. According to data issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), only three communities residing in Kuwait recorded a decrease in their total numbers, which are the Ethiopian, Afghani and Iranian communities. The data revealed an increase in the numbers of 17 other communities as of the end of last year. The Indian community continues to occupy the first place of the total expat population in Kuwait.

The seven communities that top the demographics are –
India – 965,774
Egypt – 655,234
Philippines – 274,777
Bangladesh – 256,849
Syria – 162,310
Saudi Arabia – 135,950
Sri lankans – 120,147

In this regard, the Director-General of the International Labor Organization Gilbert Houngbo, called for “prioritizing social justice for employment around the world”. In a statement issued on the occasion of International Labor Day, he said, “Our policies and procedures should center around people to achieve their material well-being and spiritual development in conditions of freedom, dignity, economic security and equal opportunity.”

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