Domestic workers

41,200 domestic workers quit; Major labor shortage expected: Kuwait

In mid-April, the National Assembly’s Interior and Defense Committee approved a proposal submitted by an MP to allow visas to be issued to new domestic workers, Al-Rai daily reports. In this regard, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported that depending on this development, Kuwait is likely to resume the recruitment of domestic workers, as the sector – and the economy as a whole – suffers from a shortage of jobs, s expecting the government to liberalize the domestic work sector. , while pursuing efforts to change the long-term demographic imbalance.

In 2021, approximately 41,200 domestic workers left Kuwait, reflecting a broader trend that has been greatly exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic – the departure of expatriates since the onset of “Corona” in early 2020, which has caused a severe economic recession, reduced employment opportunities in the private sector, and revealed the lack of financial sustainability to absorb more citizens into the overcrowded public sector, while the private sector depends on expatriate workers, prompting the government to speed up the process of Kuwaitization. The Economist Intelligence said that despite the improved financial situation, due to rising oil prices, the government continued to implement nationalization policies, adding: “Since it is unlikely that Kuwaiti citizens perform household chores, this sector suffers from a significant labor shortage.

Last January, the government announced that domestic workers would lose their residence permit if they stayed out of the country for more than 6 months. While this could be seen as a way to quickly send workers back to Kuwait, rather than expelling them from the country, the decision has exacerbated the problem of Kuwaiti families who depend on domestic workers during Ramadan, as their wages have increased dramatically.

The Economist Intelligence suggested that the National Assembly, which has populist leanings and strongly opposes measures that impose financial burdens on Kuwaiti citizens, would soften its anti-immigration stance and work with the government to reform the visa system. for domestic workers and allow them to be brought.

The Economist Intelligence expected the government to change visa regulations and seek to correct the imbalance in the domestic labor sector, but it is nevertheless likely that the authorities will continue to implement policies aimed at replacing the foreign workers by nationals in their quest to reverse the 70 -30 ratio of citizens to expatriates, which will continue to cause labor shortages in several sectors. The latest development confirms the unit’s expectations that foreign labor will continue to be a central issue in domestic policy throughout the 2022 to 2026 forecast period.

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