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Will second job for expatriates contribute to rectifying the demographics in Kuwait?

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Move to reflect positive economic, housing benefits

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 24: While economists agree on the great benefits that will be achieved from allowing people especially expatriates to take up second jobs, such as contributing to rectifying the demographics in Kuwait, they stressed the need to study the topic carefully and determine its social and economic effects, reports Al-Rai daily.

They insisted that such a move should take into consideration the fact that the second job is associated with certain positions, the long hours of which will not harm the concerned employees mentally and physically such as accounting, law, teaching, sales and home services, and provided they are consistent with nature of the main work of the employee.

The economists whose opinions were sought agreed that allowing expatriates to take up a second job in certain sectors will reflect positive economic and housing benefits, and the fruits will accrue to the state, companies, citizens, and expatriates.

Meanwhile, economic researcher Muhammad Ramadan explained that opening the door for expatriates to take up a second job may appear to be a mechanism for dealing with the demographics.

It will be beneficial to a number of working expatriates, estimated to be 2.428 million out of the 3.234 million living in the country, which means about 75 percent of this category is working, and majority of them work in the private sector.

He stressed the need for the second working job to be subject to several determinants, most notably those that are universally accepted and related to the number of daily working hours, which should not exceed eight hours. Ramadan indicated that a large segment of expatriates prefer to increase their working hours above the internationally established rate to increase their monthly income.

He highlighted the need to link work permits of expatriates with second jobs to a category of professionals that could not be harmed both mentally and physically if they work for long periods, provided it is characterized by maintaining the nature of the main work of the expatriate. Ramadan said most of the jobs that can be worked on accordingly are related to accounting, law, teaching, and sales and household services, which are sectors with high categories of expatriate jobs. He explained that, if this move is applied, it may carry a double benefit for expatriates and citizens at the same time.

For example, the number of domestic workers in Kuwait is 685,700, and the average cost of hiring them for the first time exceed $2.26 billion. This can be reduced significantly, by allowing the use of their services for specific hours throughout the day based on the need of each family. Codifying the second job and making it available for expatriates is a major step towards eliminating several negative phenomena that indirectly weighed on the local economy.

This implementation can represent the beginning of a shift towards a new system in which the expatriate is the guarantor himself, and the abolition of the sponsorship system that has harmed the reputation of Kuwait and the countries of the region in a significant way. It will drive towards automatic correction of the demographics and elimination of the residency trade.

Furthermore, administrative expert Hani Al-Mir believes allowing expatriates to take up a second job will achieve great benefits in terms of controlling the demographics and avoiding many negative consequences. He based his opinion on the mechanism for achieving maximum benefit from the experiences of the expatriates present in the country, and reducing the need for the local market to bring in new workers. Al-Mir explained that reducing the expatriate workforce in the current manner may have negative consequences, including increasing the cost of hiring them in the private sector under the pressure of demandand- supply.

If the demand for expatriates increases in conjunction with plans to rebalance the demographics, the cost of their employment will consequently increase. Many professional jobs require significant expertise or certain qualifications that expatriates can take on as a second job, as they will benefit from their capabilities at a minimal cost compared to employing others who are inexperienced with higher salaries.

Al-Mir highlighted six economic benefits to be gained from allowing expatriates to take up a second job, namely:

1. Reducing expenses for many small companies that do not need full-time employees

2. Managing the negative aspects of high demand, which will allow facing instances of high demand for labor by increasing the supply of part time labor

3. Reducing the pressure on services and the resulting expenses

4. Promoting trade – this method increases the income of expatriates, and hence increases the ability to spend

5. Higher efficiency – engaging people with experience in additional work achieves higher efficiency

6. Reducing prices – the operating expenses of many companies will decrease as prices of goods and services will decrease Four benefits for determining working hours for domestic workers –

In addition, economic researcher Muhammad Ramadan said determining the number of hours for domestic workers will ensure four benefits, which are – 1. Reducing their numbers – the increasing need for domestic labor will decrease and the population gap will reduce

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