Expat remittances grow in post-COVID normalcy

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‘USD127.2 billion sent from Gulf’

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 3: The labor market has achieved a remarkable recovery in Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with the return to normalcy among expatriate workers after the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic receded and the Gulf economies recovered, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to statistics and data issued by the Gulf Statistics Center, which is affiliated with the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, remittances of expatriates in the Gulf countries recorded a growth in the past year compared to 2020.

In a report issued in July, the Gulf Statistics Center highlighted that the total remittances of expatriates in the Gulf countries amounted to USD 127.2 billion last year compared to USD 116.5 billion in 2020, recording a growth of 9.2 percent after a decline in remittances during the previous four years. It explained that the Kuwaiti labor market came in third place with a growth rate of 6.1 percent and total remittances worth USD 18.3 billion dollars, preceded by Saudi Arabia in second place with USD 39.8 billion, and the UAE in first place with USD 47.5 billion. Both the Omani and Bahraini labor markets recorded a decrease in the growth rate of expatriate remittances, despite the series of recovery in the rest of the GCC countries.

Oman recorded a decrease in the growth rate by 7.5 percent, and Bahrain by 7.7 percent. The Gulf labor market witnessed some recovery as a result of the various precautionary and incentive measures that the GCC countries implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure cushioning the impact of the pandemic and its effects on the labor market. Kuwait was among the GCC countries that passed special legislation to protect domestic workers, while Bahrain included domestic workers in the labor law. While the report showed that the average annual growth of workers in the GCC countries reached 1.4 percent, it stressed that the market witnessed a clear growth in the volume of female employment with an average annual growth of 7.5 percent during the period between 2017 and 2021.

Kuwait ranked first in this regard with a total of 28.1 percent of female workers in the labor market. The report highlighted that the percentage of nationals working in the Gulf market reached 35 percent of the total population. Kuwaitis cover 15.3 percent of the local labor market. The highest percentage of national workers in the labor market was recorded in Saudi Arabia with 44.6 percent. The report stated, “Kuwait witnessed a population decline during the past year by 2.9 percent, which is the highest in the Gulf, while the total population in Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman increased.”

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