Kuwait’s expat labor force up by 7.5 percent in H1 2023

Over 30 percent of Kuwait’s new labor force entrants are Indians
Kuwait’s expat labor force up by 7.5 percent in H1 2023
Indians are among GCC countries’ top workers

Kuwait’s labor force has swelled to three million according to July 2023 figures, up 7.5 percent from 2.79 mn workers by the end of December last year.

At 877,000, Indian expatriates make up over 30 percent of the newly hired expats in the country’s domestic job market.

In 2022, Kuwait ranked second among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in terms of the number of Indian nationals hired. Data shows that the country provided jobs for 71,432 Indians. The top spot went to Saudi Arabia, which employed around 178,630 Indians in the past year. 

Coming in third place is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which hired 33,233 Indian workers. 

Kuwait’s labor market

Excluding non-domestic helpers, the number of employees in the public and private sectors saw an uptick of 39,000 during the first seven months of the year. This figure brought December 2022’s 2.036 mn to 2.075 mn as of July 2023.

Meanwhile, the number of Kuwaiti workers stood at 450,000 as of July this year. 

The growth in Kuwait’s labor force was primarily driven by expatriates, who accounted for 94 percent of the increase in employees. This number, exclusive of domestic aides, jumped from 1.59 mn at the end of December 2022 to 1.63 mn workers by July 2023. Apart from Indians, Filipinos and Bangladeshi workers are among Kuwait’s top expat employees. 

Read: India’s economy to become world’s second-largest by 2075, says Goldman Sachs

Indian influx to the Gulf market

New data also shows that around nine million Indian expats reside and work in GCC countries. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the number of Indian workers significantly increased after the oil boom in the 1970s.

While economic diversification is underway in many GCC countries, the influx of Indian workers to the region remains substantial.

“Indians have been attracted to the employment opportunities in the Gulf market, initially due to the booming oil industry, and of late because of the economic diversification wherein skilled workers and professionals from across India find employment in different sectors including IT, health and medical care, engineering, real estate and construction, retail, etc.,” stated Muddassir Quamar, an associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Additionally, GCC countries boast cities that are affordable to live in. In a recent survey, Kuwait was named the cheapest city in the world, with a person living there needing a cost of living worth $752.70 every month. In the city, the monthly income per capita is $6,199.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in UAE secured the second, fourth, and fifth spots, respectively. Meanwhile, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia ranked third.

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