Demography confusion in higher echelons
KUWAIT CITY, June 6: It’s about five months the decision has been issued to stop renewing work permits for expatriates who are 60 years and above, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has not issued any statistics confirming its justifications when announcing the decision, which is ‘dormant’ in the domain of the Minister of Commerce and Industry who does not give it the slightest attention. The minister remains unmoved or not interested in what has been suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the private sector which is the most affected because the decision will empty the nation of expertise, in addition the decision will put Kuwait in an embarrassing situation with humanitarian organizations, according to the agreements Kuwait has signed with these organizations.
The PAM, after a meeting with several governmental and specialized agencies, including the Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) the Trade Union issued a decision to raise the annual work permit renewal fee for those who reached 60 years to 2,000 dinars, in addition to health insurance, and the decision was submitted to the Chairman of the Board of Directors and decision was submitted to the Minister of Commerce, Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman, about two months ago, but he has yet to decide on it.
This is in addition to the “comprehensive health insurance” which is expected to be not less than 500 dinars, which may deepen the tragedy of those 60 years and above. And because the file is thorny and needs a clear decision from the concerned authorities, especially since the decision to prevent the renewal of these people has been implemented since the beginning of this year and the work permits for some of them are about to expire, the daily received mixed opinions from a number of jurists and specialists, who confirmed that the decision remains tainted, some of them labeling the decision as “not respectful of human aspects, in a country famous for being a global center for humanity.” The head of the Kuwaiti Human Rights Society, Khaled Al- Humaidi, told Al-Seyassah daily that the decision of PAM regarding non-renewal of work permits for those aged 60 and above “targeted a specific segment of migrant workers with a high school qualifications or less, and the category noting that the decision does not include migrant workers who hold a post-secondary diploma or higher qualifications. Al-Humaidi stressed the Kuwaiti government’s responsibility to observe and promote human rights in its legislation, including administrative decisions, including Administrative Decision 520/2020 prohibiting the issuance of work permits for those aged 60 years and over for holders of a secondary school certificate or less and its equivalent certificates.
The head of the Kuwaiti Transparency Society, Majed Al-Mutairi, described the decision as confusion and shows government’s inability to balance the demographic structure and the labor market, especially since it did not clarify any real study on the extent of this segment to be removed from the country. Al-Mutairi told Al-Seyassah daily the decision did not take into account the role of these workers and their economic contribution and what they have done to enrich the local labor market, pointing out that the decision is considered a disclaimer after the criticism directed at the authority, and its previous decisions that caused a disruption to the demographic structure. He said Kuwait lacks professional labor in the labor market, especially construction, in light of urban expansion and infrastructure projects, and the legislature has not yet developed any radical and logical solutions to these problems. By Faris Al-Abdan Al-Seyassah, Arab Times Staff