Kuwatization takes a tiny step forward via Al Hashim proposal

Published:  27 Feb at 6 PM
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Expat scourge Safa al Hashim’s latest anti-expatriate proposal has been partially approved by Kuwait’s Interior and Defense Affairs Committee.

After studying her proposal and taking into account its importance as regards the emirate’s lopsided demographics, the committee agreed to adopt some but not all of her proposals. Contractors will now be forced to deport their expat workers once the projects on which they’re working are completed, and the e-government system used to estimate companies’ actual manpower needs is to be activated. Random estimations will not now be allowed.

However, items three, four and five in her proposal were rejected, as all have the potential to increase the financial burdens of those sponsoring expatriate workers, and the projected 10-year limit on expat stays in the country was rejected as it was deemed likely to lead to a shortage of jobs in certain sectors of the labour market. Another proposal by a Kuwaiti lawmaker concerning the establishment of military cities in the south and north of the country was also approved, with a nod to providing all facilities including independent housing, sports and cultural centres, markets, kindergartens, schools, stadiums and clubs.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, questions are being asked about the kingdom’s ability to survive without expatriate workers. Opinion pieces in the English language media are painting a grim picture of life in Saudi without its hordes of immigrant labourers and expat professionals. Suggestions that locals may be unaccustomed or unwilling to actually work for a living are being made, and it’s a good point at this time in the country’s development along unique new lines.

The introduction of the expatriate dependent tax is expected to result in a mass exodus of workers unable to pay and unwilling to continue working without their families, many of whom have grown up in the kingdom and call it home. The economic crisis, spurred by both the decline in oil prices and the cost of the war in Yemen, is expected to result in a sizeable number of workers giving up and going home. According to statistical projections, by the end of 2018 some 170,000 will have left the country, seriously affecting several commercial sectors. The real estate market is also under threat, with rents projected to drop by 50 per cent or even more.
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