Cairo: Over 56,000 expatriates left Kuwait in the first half of this year, bringing to 190,000 the total numbers of foreign workers who have left the country since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, figures have shown.
While Kuwait’s population hit an all-time low on an annual basis in 30 years in 2020, the country’s overall population dropped in the first half of the current year by 0.9 per cent to reach 4.6 million people, according to a report from the National Bank of Kuwait, a major financial institution.
The demographic decline is mainly due to a constant decrease in the number of expatriates in Kuwait.
The report explained the continued Kuwaitisation of jobs and the weak economic environment due to fallout from the pandemic have prompted corporate layoffs, a matter that has pushed thousands of foreign families to leave Kuwait.
Foreigners’ employment in Kuwait dropped by 2.2 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to 5.2 per cent in the whole 2020 against a backdrop of 2.2 per cent employment decrease in the public sector and 2.8 per cent decline in the private sector, the report noted.
Except domestic labour, the number of migrant workers arriving in Kuwait has dropped by 2.7 per cent in the first half of 2021 due to employment decline in the country.
Domestic workers are the least affected among expatriates in Kuwait as their jobs dipped by 1.1 per cent in the first half of 2021 compared to a 9.8 per cent decline in the construction sector.
Despite the likely return of some expatriates with the resumption of flights, the report expects the exodus of migrant workers from Kuwait to continue as a result of economic repercussions of COVID-19 and the Kuwaitisation of jobs.
Starting from August 1, Kuwait allowed expatriates to enter the country as long as they have received two doses of an approved vaccine, ending a ban of seven months on their entry.