Cairo: A total of 371,000 expatriates have left work in Kuwait over the past three years as the country is going ahead with a policy replacing foreigners with its citizens, according to a local newspaper.
The number of expatriates doing jobs in Kuwait reached 2.89 million in 2018, but the figure dipped to 2.52 million last year, Al Qabas reported, citing official statistics.
The figure, based on the Central Statistical Bureau, included a drop of 115,000 domestic workers due to COVID-19 and related restrictions on overseas recruitment.
Moreover, the statistics showed the number of foreigners holding government work residency permits tumbled by about 11,000 people during the three years due to the employment policy known as Kuwaitisation replacing foreigners with Kuwaitis that initiated in 2017.
The overall numbers of private sector expatriates dropped to 1.2 million last year against 1.5 million in 2018.
It is not clear if all the foreigners driven out of work have already left Kuwait.
The number of illegal migrants in Kuwait, meanwhile, jumped by around 51,000 people during the cited period, reaching 151,000 last year against 100,000 in 2018, according to the report.
Foreigners including dependents account for nearly 3.5 million of Kuwait’s total population of about 4.6 million.
In recent months, voices have raised in the Gulf country demanding limiting the employment of foreigners amid economic fallout from COVID-19.
Kuwait has recently stepped up raids on illegal foreign residents after giving them repeated grace periods to modify their status.