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Kuwait dismisses 3,140 public sector foreigners

Move does not include expatriates in education, health

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait has cancelled the contracts of 3,140 foreigners working in the public sector, Chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Ahmad Al Jassar has said.

The cancellation of the contracts was based on a CSC resolution on staff proportions for 2017-2018 as part of the state policy to replace expatriates with Kuwaitis in the government sector.

The dismissed foreigners served in various ministries, government departments and bodies with independent budgets.

“The expatriate workers have been laid off in line with the state’s policy of Kuwaitising jobs in the public sector as stipulated by CSC decision 11/2017, which exempted dismissals in the medical and health sectors,” Al Jassar said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency on Saturday.

Kuwaiti officials have explained that a high number of the foreigners in the public sectors were employed by the ministries of education and health and that replacing them would not be possible for the time being.

The number of non-Kuwaiti civil servants was 44,572, including the dismissed ones.

They are employed in 46 government sectors, including 25,948 in teaching and training, 6,474 in services, 3,537 in law and Islamic affairs, 2,876 in engineering and 1,539 in social and educational services as well as sports.

According to CSC figures, 1,221 are holding financial, economic and commercial jobs, 1,130 are in the administrative backup sector, 483 in information systems and technology, 377 in manual works, 308 in literature, media and public relations, 221 in forensics, 205 in agriculture and livestock, 212 in sciences, 37 in administrative development and statistics and five in marine tasks.

Kuwait’s Public Authority for Civil Information says that the 3,205,385 foreigners living in the northern Arabian Gulf state make up 69.73 per cent of the total population of 4,596,682. Kuwaitis, numbering 1,391,297, make up the remaining 30.27 per cent.

Several lawmakers have been aggressively pushing for introducing far-reaching reforms that would address the demographic imbalance, reduce reliance on expatriates and boost employment opportunities for Kuwaitis.

However, Kuwait is facing a dilemma to ease pressure on the public sector and lure more of its nationals to the private sector despite its relentless attempts to make it more attractive to Kuwaitis.

Most Kuwaitis opt for government jobs to benefit from the professional security they offer as they cannot be fired unless in extreme cases. They are also attracted by less work pressure, more relaxed timings, fewer working hours and longer holidays.

According to government labour statistics released in 2016, about 58 per cent of Kuwaitis refuse to work in the private sector and would rather wait for an opening in the public sector.

The latest statistics by the Public Authority for Civil Information indicate that 79 per cent of the 406,200 Kuwaitis nationals in the labour force work in the public sector.

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