Cairo: A contract to hire 500 foreign workers in Kuwait's oil sector has been halted, Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel said, as the country is seeking to curtail numbers of expatriates and redress demographic balance.
"This contract has been reconsidered and put on hold," the minister was quoted as saying Wednesday. "The oil sector confirms its faith in the young national cadres," he added.
Earlier this month, Al-Fadhel said that his country will no longer hire expatriates in its oil sector.
Kuwait Oil Company Wednesday said it employed over 500 Kuwaiti diploma holders last year and promised to maintain this employment policy.
Commenting on the halted contract, the company said it was part of contingency contracts that have not been invoked. "This tender is among several tenders forwarded to the Central Adjudications Committee before the coronavirus pandemic and have not been approved until now," it added. The contract of hiring the 500 foreigners has been put on hold, according to the company.
Foreigners account for nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait's 4.8 million population
In recent weeks, several Kuwaiti public figures have accused expatriates, mainly the unskilled labour, of straining the country’s health facilities and increasing the COVID-19 threat.
Last month, a number of Kuwaiti lawmakers presented a draft bill, proposing a quota system for employing foreigners as one way to reverse the population imbalance in the country.