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257,000 expats ‘quit’ Kuwait in ’21

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Shortage ups labor charges

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 3: While efforts are ongoing to modify the demographic structure and implement the Kuwaitization plan in the state agencies, the labor market witnessed several changes during the past year, most notably the exit of 257,000 expatriates permanently from the country. They include 205,000 employees of the private sector and 7,000 of government agencies, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to recent government reports issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) and the labor market system, most of those who left the country were from the private sector, followed by domestic workers from the family sector, as 41,200 domestic workers left the country during 2021.

On the other hand, the number of Kuwaitis in the labor market increased by a total of 23,000 during 2021, the majority of whom are in the government sector. The reports explained that there are 2.7 million people in the labor market of the country.

Among them, Kuwaitis constitute 16.2 percent. A large proportion of working expatriates work in the domestic sector, with a total of 639,000 expatriates, constituting 22.8 percent of the labor force. The labor market witnessed a stark shortage in some professional specializations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of the recruitment of expatriate workers from abroad.

The private sector suffered a significant decrease in employment, and the relevant agencies in the country were unable to attract national labor to the jobs offered, which fit their academic levels. The demand for employment in the government sector is still the highest. A report issued by the National Employment Sector in the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) revealed that 21,000 citizens are registered as job seekers, of whom 48.3 percent desire to be appointed in jobs in the private sector.

This is a high percentage when compared to the rate nine years ago, with a total of 10,162 citizens. Despite the exerted efforts and the decrease in numbers, reports revealed that the shortage of professional labor negatively affected the sectors of building and construction, agriculture, fishing, cleaning, public services and journalists, and typists.

The wages of a daily worker in the aforementioned fields increased to more than KD 25 per day from KD 10 to KD 15 prior to COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, with the reopening of flights and the return of many expatriate workers who are stranded abroad, labor gatherings have been observed in different regions of the country, such as the entrances and exits of Khaitan, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Shuwaikh, Kabd, Sulaibiya, Mutlaa Road, Wafra Road, Sabah City Road, Ahmadi Industrial and Sabahiya areas. The daily monitored the return of the prices for workers in the field of transportation, installation and dismantling of furniture, and other public services to normal. A worker in this field requests approximately KD 5 in exchange for any work.

In an interview with the daily, some of these workers stated that they mastered work in most fields related to building, construction, transportation and other orders that require physical effort, as they are accustomed to such work. However, some of them are residency violators and do not work in any specialized companies. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) and PAM are studying the possibility of increasing the rate of hiring Kuwaitis in the private sector and the Kuwaitization of some professions, jobs and titles. The concerned state authorities are also working on developing a strict plan to activate the mechanism for appointing people with special needs to jobs in the private sector. The hotel sector in the country is expected to announce new jobs for Kuwaitis, in addition to expanding the areas of business owners and small and medium enterprises.

Figures from the labor market in 2021 –

■ 639,000 domestic workers
■ 1.5 million non-Kuwaiti workers in the private sector
■ 73,000 Kuwaitis in the private sector
■ 346,000 Kuwaitis in the government sector
■ 21,006 Kuwaiti job seekers

In this regard, informed sources said they are expecting a recovery of the domestic labor market during the coming period, with an increase in the recruitment of large numbers of these workers to Kuwait. They explained that the high volume of labor being sent to Kuwait had contributed to covering some of the shortfall.

The past period witnessed the provision of more labor specialized in the field of home nursing and caring for the elderly and children. It is clear that there is a shortage of companies working in the field of guarding, security, cleaning services and transportation in light of the COVID-19 crisis, as the volume of demand for these professions has increased.

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