Kuwait drastic reduction in expat workers not feasible

Published:  10 Apr at 6 PM
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Kuwait’s recently announced plan to shed one million expats workers over the next ten years via an annual reduction of 100,000 workers has been slated as not possible.

Denouncing the plan put forward by Thekra al-Rashid, Kuwaiti Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, a number of high-ranking executives and officials have stated that drastic demographic moves will require meticulous long-term planning and changes to many aspects of Kuwait’s employment laws. The group also made it clear than any reduction in the numbers of expat workers would need to be undertaken in tandem with development in the emirate’s economy.

In an attempt to minimize the effects of the plan’s announcement, a senior official said that the minister had been referring to marginal expat labourers rather than highly-skilled executives and workers in the oil and gas industry. The VP of Kuwait’s Chamber of Commerce stated that jumping into the unknown in the manner suggested would be harmful to the economy, and economic expert Ali Rasheed al-Baler noted that there was no clearly thought out strategy for investing in the emirate’s own human resources.

He added that the scheme would widen structural flaws in Kuwait’s economy. Former Oil Minister Essa al-Mazidi went further, stating that the sector could in no way get rid of its skilled expat workers due to the high returns involved and the industry’s inability to wait for the possible results of long-term government plans. Al-Mazidi agrees with the proposal in principal, but stresses the need for a long-term vision aided by professionalism in decision-making.
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