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Tue 12 Mar 2013 10:35 AM

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30,000 expats to lose Kuwaiti government jobs

Lawmakers agree to reduce percentage of expats employed by the government

30,000 expats to lose Kuwaiti government jobs
Emirati men, Dubai, UAE nationals and expats. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

About 30,000 expatriates employed by the Kuwaiti government are expected to lose their jobs after parliament approved a new legislation capping the percentage of foreigners allowed in the public sector.

Lawmakers on Monday agreed to reduce the percentage of expats employed by the government from 28 percent to 20 percent, according to Kuwait Times.

Presently, 109,000 of the 386,000 government employees are expats. If the legislation is implemented immediately, that means 30,000 would be fired, the newspaper reported.

The MPs did not reveal when the change would come into force.

The legislation also requires the Civil Service Commission to employ Kuwaiti nationals within six months of receiving a job application or pay the salary expected from the requested job.

A proposal to raise government employees’ salaries also was approved, although it was not stipulated by how much or when the pay rise would be implemented, with the details to be determined by the financial and economic affairs committee.

Kuwaiti MPs recently have been attempting to crack down on the country’s expats – who make up almost two-thirds of the population.

In the past month, proposals have been put forward to charge expats higher fees for some medical services and to designate specific times that expats and nationals can seek medical care.

On Sunday a group of eight Independent MPs called for subsidies for electricity, water and fuel to be scrapped for expats. They want nationals to receive the services for free while expats pay the full cost, which could see monthly bills soar by as much as 18 times their present value.

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majd 7 years ago

In a country where the development path has been stalled for years, which would create new jobs in the local economy, the government has no choice but to do this in a society where most Kuwaitis prefer to work in the public sector. the Kuwaiti government could also adapt similar measures as neighboring GCC countries by shortening the workweek to 5 days (highly unlikely) and charging companies if they hire too many expats. But Kuwait is not a savvy business environment, as other GCC nations, so most of the expat jobs are blue collar positions.

Mohammed Sulaiti 7 years ago

This is the right kind of step taken by the elected representatives of Kuwaities. Most expats may not add value in Government Services and Public Sector for their inability to do business in Arabic. Even in Private Sector, Kuwaities need to get preference and expats should be employed only when there is no suitable Kuwaiti available. This is true not only for Kuwait but for all the GCC. Over reliance on expats is not in the best interests of these countries.

sss 7 years ago

HI, could you please define the definition of EXPAT?? Expat means only Asians? and Filipinos? even native arabic speaking people are EXPATS. so how do you validate that if Arabic is the only concern??

there are many Asians are born and brought up here in GCC and can read write and speak arabic..so i guess your point here is not valid !!

Aby 7 years ago

Several points here

1. If kuwaiti companies were able to hire local workers why on earth would there be so many expats. I suspect the pay and conditions do not match kuwaitis expectations. In the west most graduates start on low pay and work very long weeks before they can expect pay increases and promotions.

2. Companies look for the best they can get with the least amount they have to spend, kuwaitis are not being overlooked for any other reason than they expect too much for too little. The private sector is a lot more demanding and you have to justify your wage by what you add to the business.

3. Any increase in costs through taxation or utilities will result in reduced numbers of people coming here, low paid workers wil find they cannot afford to live here so thats maid, day labourers, cleaners etc, jobs kuwaitis wont do, high paid workers will expect their companies to make up the difference, you would just pass on the cost of these chamges to the private sector.

Aby 7 years ago

The public sector doesnt add value, it recycles government money. The cost of the public sector falls on government, it doesnt bring international investment etc. private sector money does.

More kuwaitis should be encouraged to work in the private sector and compete against expats, on the same pay and conditions that's how you improve the workforce, real competition.

Aby 7 years ago

A lot of those companies in the GCC are just paying the fees and some sectors are simply not able to comply. Not enough saudis willing to be gas attendants....

Positive discrimination in this context may not get the results people want, private companies want the best person for that job, they may be kuwaiti they may be an expat but people have to actually move away from expecting work in the public sector and be willing to compete.

I agree that the development plans should move forward but again in terms of actual numbers and types of jobs we are talking about day labourers, surveyors architects etc etc and essentially people with experience in those areas. These will most likely go to contractors who are not necessarily kuwaiti dominated organisations.

People should be getting jobs on merit not by virtue of race.

Thamir Ghaslan 7 years ago

The Bahraini and Saudi reform models worked well with great results. Best of luck to Kuwait and the rest of the GCC.

I expect a lot of backlash and negativity from expats with the same played old tapes that were played in Bahrain and Saudi, but who cares!

realiste 7 years ago

@Thamir.
And of course if they were serious in KSA there wouldnt need to be any expats at all working there now.
Just Saudis doing each and every job available.
Not seeing that yet though despite all the talk.
One day huh.