Stock Kuwait shopping mall
Shoppers at a mall in Kuwait Image Credit: AFP

Kuwait City: Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission announced that since 2017, 13 out of 16 governmental agencies have achieved Kuwaitisation, a governmental policy aimed at shifting the public sector workforce balance so 100 per cent of jobs are held by Kuwaitis, Al Qabas reported.

Out of the 13 agencies, nine have achieved a 95 per cent Kuwaiti workforce within 3 years.

According to a report by the Civil Service Commission, around 79 per cent of all employees working in the public sector are Kuwaitis, bringing them to a total of 297,335. As for expats, they make up 21 per cent of the workforce with 34,347 expats working in the public sector.

As of December 2019, there were 120,000 expats, out of the 3 million residing in Kuwait, working in the public sector. While the majority of expats work in the private sector, 90 per cent of the 1.4 million Kuwaiti citizens work in the public sector.

Reducing expats in public sector

The Kuwaitisation policy, which was first introduced in 2017, is working towards creating a majority Kuwaiti workforce, in the public sector, by 2021.

A month ago, various government agencies began laying off expats, especially those that are working in non-technical fields. Then a few weeks later, around 1,183 job contacts for expats working across 48 governmental agencies were cancelled.

In May, the Ministry of State of Municipal Affairs announced it was working on a plan to replace all expats working in the ministry with Kuwaitis.

Back in 2018, around 50,000 expats working in governmental agencies were laid off.

National Assembly and Kuwaitsation

By addressing the demographic imbalance, many MPs have called for nationalising jobs for Kuwaitis. In May, four MPs submitted a bill that aims at nationalising jobs in the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). A month later, the Minister of Oil, Dr. Khaled Al Fadil, announced that KPC and its six subsidiaries will no longer hire expats for the year 2020-2021.

In June, a Kuwaiti lawmaker proposed replacing expats working in the National Assembly with Kuwaitis.

The National Assembly has also been reviewing various proposals regarding the demographic imbalance, with expats making up 70 per cent of Kuwait’s population. Currently, the Human Resources Development committee is reviewing various proposals put forth by several MPs and the Ministry of Social Affairs, that aim to reduce the number of expats residing in Kuwait.