Kuwait skyline
Kuwait skyline Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: More than 13,500 male and female expatriate workers aged 60 and above have left the Kuwaiti labour market from January 1 to the end of September 2021, local media reported.

According to official figures, the total number of expats in the government and private sectors aged 60 and over decreased by 17 per cent within 9 months, and their total number decreased from 81,500 at the beginning of 2021 to 67,980 by the end of September 2021, a decrease of more than 13,500.

The number of expats aged 60 years and above in the government sector decreased by 1,025 male and female expatriates; dropping from 6,065 in January 1, 2021 to 5,040 at the end of last September.

In the private sector, the number of residents aged 60 and over decreased also by 12,500 male and female workers, and their numbers decreased from 75,450 at the beginning of 2021 to 62,940 male and female migrants on September 30, 2021.

The ongoing enforcement of Kuwaitisation policies and the economic environment caused by the pandemic forced companies to lay off workers, pushing thousands of expats to leave the country.

Earlier last October, the Kuwaiti Legal Advice and Legislation Department invalidated the ban on employing expatriates above 60, saying it had no legal basis.

The department said the ban had been issued by the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) director-general without authorisation.

At the time, a proposal was floated that those expatriates renew their work permits in return for a fee of KD500 per person and mandatory health insurance.

The PAM board later approved revocation of the ban and endorsed a new renewal system that has not come into effect still.

The controversial ban, which went into effect earlier last year, triggered an outcry among rights activists, who argued that it affects thousands of expatriates and their families who long lived in Kuwait.