Stock Kuwait expats workers
Expatriates wait in line to be tested at a makeshift testing center in Mishref, Kuwait. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Kuwait is set to start implementing “smart” recruitment rules, including professional competence tests, for expatriates employed in certain jobs, a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported, citing a labour source.

“The beginning with be with 20 professions. The project will be implemented in the countries high in exporting labour and then it will be extended to other countries,” the unnamed source at the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) was quoted by Al Anba newspaper.

The source did not provide a breakdown of the targeted professions.

Kuwaiti embassies abroad will conduct theoretical tests for the recruited expatriates.

“After entering Kuwait, they will take practical tests in coordination with relevant agencies. The beginning will be with 20 professions. Passing will be a condition for issuing work permits,” the source said.

PAM had earlier implemented competence tests on a trial basis for some jobs such as teachers for differently abled students, noted the source, expecting larger implementation before the end of this year.

Last week, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas reported that PAM started listing the professions for which foreigners are mostly recruited as a step for devising a mechanism to first test newcomers in their home countries before they take practical tests in Kuwait.

Expatriates in Kuwait are mainly employed in seven sectors, mostly in domestic labour with a total of 695,414 workers followed by sectors of services, car maintenance, construction, transformational industries, hotels and restaurants, Al Qabas cited official statistics.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s overall population of 4.6 million. In recent months, there have been increasing calls in Kuwait for curbing foreigners’ employment along accusations that migrant workers have strained the country’s infrastructure facilities amid economic repercussions from COVID-19.