Proposed new Kuwaiti law aims to rid the country of expat professionals

Proposed new Kuwaiti law aims to rid the country of expat professionals

Proposed new Kuwaiti law aims to rid the country of expat professionals

Kuwait is now planning to sack all expat professionals and replace them with locals.

According to the Kuwait Times, the emirate’s government is about to give the go-ahead for the sacking of all expat employees and replacing them with locals. In addition, all expat employment applications already in the pipeline are to be frozen, appointments already made are to be cancelled and existing employee contracts will not be renewed. The knowledge and experience gap left by the plan will be filled by either Kuwaiti nationals or by the use of technology or automation.

One Kuwaiti lawmaker in particular seems to have got her way at long last after literally years of racist attacks against expat professionals. Al Hashem’s diatribes about the presence of expats in Kuwait are infamous, although few thought her opinions would ever be validated by a responsible government. The latest report on parliament’s reaction to the plan would seem to welcome it, as expats in government jobs still number some 26 per cent of all public sector employees. The new law is now awaiting review and approval in the National Assembly as well as needing acceptance by the government, and gives just one year to implement all the changes and get rid of all expat employees.

The government must announce its plans to fill the vacancies thus caused within three months of the legislation’s enaction, with expats only allowed to take positions where no Kuwaitis have applied to be considered. Should this be the case, an expat can be appointed, but only for one year although renewals might be possible. Kuwait’s so-called ‘demographic imbalance’ has often been cited as the result of a lack of local interest in the entire concept of working for a living, or of getting the qualifications necessary for a career.

In addition to al Hashem, other politicians are in favour of reducing the numbers of expats living and working in the emirate to less than 50 per cent of the country’s 4.6 million population from its present-day total of 70 per cent. Many European and American expats have given their lives to improving and developing Kuwait, especially in the field of alternative sources of GDP rather than the overall reliance on oil as the only source of revenue.

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