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Kuwait to freeze 3,108 expat contracts

Drive to replace foreigners with Kuwaitis moving forward

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission, responsible for all public sector employees, is planning to freeze 3,108 contracts for expatriates by July 1.

The move would allow Kuwaiti ministries to recruit Kuwaiti nationals to replace them as part of the drive to reduce the number of expatriates and give Kuwaiti nationals more employment opportunities.

Several lawmakers have been pushing for reducing reliance on expatriates in a country where foreigners make up around 70 per cent of the total population of 4.5 million.

In November, the Public Service Commission told all public departments to submit their plans for replacing foreigners with Kuwaitis as part of a national drive to ensure the rate of unemployment among locals is at a minimum.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it needed some time to respond to the queries while the Ministry of Labour said that it was just waiting for the formal signatures, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Saturday.

However, the Ministry of Education, with its high number of foreign teachers and staff, has yet to respond to the queries or to ask for some time, the daily added, citing sources it did not name.

The Civil Service Commission said that the number of job vacancies, based on the requests submitted to it by the different public entities and departments, was 4,365 in 2018.

The figure meant that with the 3,108 jobs to be left by expatriates at the end of June, Kuwait will have more than 7,400 employment opportunities for Kuwaiti citizens.

In the first 10 days of April, 3,001 Kuwaitis had applied for public sector jobs.

Women made up the majority with 2,067 applications. Most applications were for jobs in the Ministry of Education with 2,558 while the lowest figures were one for the Ministry of Defence and one for the Ministry of Oil.

Most Kuwaitis prefer government jobs over private jobs to benefit from the security they offer as they cannot be fired except extreme cases. They are also attracted by less work pressure, relaxed timings, shorter work hours and more holidays.

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

According to recent statistics 345,100 Kuwaitis work in the public sector, representing 76.8 per cent of the total Kuwaiti labour force.

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