Expats face uncertain future following massive Kuwaitization drive
This is no time to lose a job, as high inflation strains families struggling to pay rent, and put food on the table.
It’s especially hard for Egyptian workers in Kuwait who could join over 2 million people unemployed in their country with little prospects for finding equally competitive salaries as those they have in Kuwait.
But it’s not just Egyptians. Thousands of expats face that same fate.
Egyptians being asked to leave
Up to 250,000 Egyptian workers stand to lose their employment status in Kuwait, as authorities there announced that starting next month all expiring contracts with non-nationals will be suspended.
Egyptians make up about 22.3 percent of the expat workforce in Kuwait, while Indian workers account for 23.7 percent of the total, according to the State Audit Bureau.
Another 500,000 further Egyptian employees will also be asked to leave in 2023 as a result of Kuwaitization.
Legislation in support of Kuwaitization
In 2020, Kuwait’s parliament produced a draft law to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country, stipulating that government agencies should not renew the residencies of foreign workers.
Egyptian labor in Kuwait stands at 1.8 million people, and “Work is underway to discuss the best ways to preserve their rights before returning to Egypt,” Magdy al-Badawy, Vice-President of the General Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, told media.
Remittances from Egyptians who live in Kuwait stood at $31.5 billion in 2021, making the country the 5th largest recipient of remittances in the world.
Badawy added the Ministry of Manpower is trying to limit the Egyptian workers that can be dispensed, explaining that every 6 months, 33 percent of the number of expatriate workers in Kuwait will be let go and this applied to all nationalities.
Some 146,949 expatriates departed from Kuwait last year.
Ministry Consultants shown the door
More than 50 consultants and experts at Kuwait’s information ministry have been released from duty, local media reported.
Abdul Rahman Al Mutairi, Kuwaiti Information and Culture Minister and State Minister for Youth Affairs, said their services are no more needed for the ministry.
Kuwait Municipality jobs for expats gone
Kuwaiti Minister of Communication and Municipality Rana Al Fares recently announced that “Expatriate employees will be replaced with capable nationals in all public jobs at Kuwait Municipality. The plan includes a complete training program which will allow more Kuwaitis to work and improve their overall performance.”
Expat banking jobs on the way out
The Central Bank of Kuwait has reportedly informed banks about the importance of localizing sensitive banking jobs, including senior and middle management, and making the necessary efforts to achieve this by 2023, reports Al-Rai daily.
The Central Bank has requested banks, since April 2021, to submit a plan approved by the boards of directors showing a clear roadmap to reach a Kuwaitization rate of 70 percent as a minimum, in senior and middle management positions.