Expats quit in droves, Kuwait’s labor market lost 199,000 expats

Within 12 months between March 2020 and March 2021, Kuwait’s labor market lost 199,000 non-Kuwaiti workers from over 15 different activities, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to the labor market system report, the real-estate sector witnessed the highest loss of workers with a total of 53,000 workers leaving the country, followed by the wholesale and retail trade sector, and the vehicle and bicycle repair sector, which lost nearly 37,000 workers.

With the continued closure of the labor market and the delay in identifying the aspects for recruiting workers from abroad in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, no sector has yet recorded an increase in the number of workers in the aforementioned period, with the exception of the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning sector, in which the number of workers increased by 369. There was a noticeable decrease in the number of registered workers in the construction sector by more than 30,000 workers, in addition to the manufacturing sector, which lost 27,000 workers.

In the sectors of information and communications, financial and insurance activities, education, arts, entertainment and leisure, human health and social work, the number of workers who left was limited. In the first half of this year, the labor market witnessed an active movement in the process of manpower transfer within the private sector. The transfer ceiling for this category had touched 107,000 transfers. The total number of renewed work permits for employment exceeded 402,000 during the first half of this year, while the number of workers in the private sector stabilized at 1.5 million workers.

The Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) revealed the mechanism for issuing work permits to those recruited with a commercial visit visa. It stated that, “If employers register entry visa transactions for holders of commercial visit visas as a work permit on the electronic forms portal, they must ensure that a copy of the commercial visit visa and a copy of the criminal status sheet for the employee are attested by official certifications.” PAM explained that work is ongoing to complete the procedures for dealing with labor departments by approving a work permit, and then the visa data will be withdrawn, so that employers can follow the procedures for the issuance of a first-time work permit on an easier portal in accordance with the procedures and the decisions in force, in light of the current circumstances resulting from the measures taken by the state to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

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