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Expat hires, bonuses spark rancour – Bill mandates Kuwaitis-first for public jobs
August 23, 2017, 8:20 am

MP Abdul- Kareem Al-Kandari has presented a bill on amending the Civil Service Law to ensure that expatriates are appointed to public sector jobs only if there are no Kuwaitis qualified for these jobs.

The bill calls for revision of Paragraph Three of Article 15 of the law to read as follows: “Non-Kuwaitis should be appointed to public sector jobs only if there are no Kuwaitis qualified for these jobs. Their employment contracts should not exceed five years, while renewal or extension of their contracts is not allowed in any way.”

In the explanatory note of the bill, Al-Kandari disclosed the proposal aims to provide public sector jobs to citizens and regulate the appointment of non-Kuwaitis in the sector. On the other hand, MP Mubarak Al-Hajraf said Al-Kandari’s demand for investigation into the alleged irregularities in the appointment of expatriates with illusory privileges and salaries confirms that Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Subaih either hates Kuwaitis or she oppresses them in their own country.

On Twitter, Al-Hajraf criticized Al-Subaih claiming, “The achievements of the minister include fighting against Kuwaiti widows and divorcees, privatization of associations and cooperatives, oppression and humiliation of people with disabilities, imaginary appointment of expatriates, transformation of the ministry into her own estate and spread of corruption.” He added it is a big embarrassment for the nation and the MPs if Al-Subaih remains in her post.

Meanwhile, MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei has called on HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to stop what he regards as absurdity in the appointment of expatriates with illusory salaries and hold responsible all those behind it.

The lawmaker warned that the prime minister will be held liable within two months if he does not stop this absurdity.

In a prompt response to parliamentary and public outrage over the alleged payment of huge bonuses to a number of expatriate employees in the public sector, the Cabinet has instructed the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to determine the total number of expatriates working in this sector to pave way for replacing them with citizens as per the requirements, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting sources.

Sources disclosed the Cabinet asked the relevant public sector bodies to explain the payment of high bonuses to expatriate workers, especially at a time the State is keen on rationalizing expenditures.

On the other hand, Minister of Public Works Abdulrahman Al-Mutawa’a has instructed the concerned departments in his ministry to submit a detailed report including the names of 700 expatriate employees, their positions and functions.

Meanwhile, the Parliament witnessed an argument over the demographic issue along with calls for replacing expatriate consultants with citizens and disapproval of granting high bonuses to expatriate consultants.

MP Saleh Aashour pointed out the spread of news about the payment of high bonuses to expatriate consultants on social media is enough for any government to fall, while MP Dr. Muhammad Al-Hewaila urged the government to expedite implementation of the Kuwaitization policy in the entire public sector.

The Lawmakers urged the government to find immediate solutions to the demographic problem in Kuwait, highlighting the dangerous consequences that this problem have on the social and economic life, as well as the threat it constitutes to the national security, reports Al-Qabas daily.

MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain pointed out the proposal he presented for fixing the population imbalance issue with all necessary solutions. He explained that the proposal, if implemented, will solve the problem within five years.

It suggests the establishment of a public authority under Ministry of Interior which will be responsible for reducing the rate of expatriates in the country such that they will constitute 50 percent of the population of Kuwait. This will ensure the population of Kuwait is composed of 50 percent citizens and 50 percent expatriates.

Meanwhile, MP Nayef Al-Midras said he hopes the government will take relevant actions for tackling the imbalance in the population structure of Kuwait. He indicated that he urged the need for holding a specific session solely for discussing the issue but it was not held due to lack of supporters.

MP Al-Midras stressed the importance of finding solutions to this problem which has dangerous consequences including increasing the pressure on the infrastructure and various services such as education and health, as well as its negative social impacts such as the strange habits of expatriates. He also stressed the need to get rid of marginal workers and ensuring the presence of only technical workers that are really needed.

The lawmaker affirmed that many of the expatriates can be replaced by Bedoun youths especially for simple jobs. Also, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi lamented that discussions about the demographic issue has become a parliamentary habit but no serious decisions or clear procedures are being taken by the government to bring an end to this problem.

In addition, MP Dr. Mohammad Al-Huwaila said he considers the demographic issue as a major challenge for the government and a threat to the national security. He affirmed that the need for expatriates will remain forever but the current number of expatriates has to be reduced.

MP Dr. Al-Huwaila urged the need to limit bringing expatriates to Kuwait and ensure only smart and experienced laborers and technicians that are really needed are brought to Kuwait. He stressed that Bedoun residents can be employed instead of expatriates, especially since a large number of Bedoun residents are qualified and sufficient.

Dr. Al-Huwaila affirmed that Kuwait still welcomes expatriates of all nationalities but Kuwait is a small country where citizens should have the priority in getting jobs and receiving distinguished educational and medical services.

In a related development, the Public Authority for Manpower has stressed the need for lawyers to obtain work permits just like any other professions in the private sector, reports Al-Nahar daily quoting an official from the authority. He said the decision has been met with protests from a number of lawyers.

The official affirmed that citizens who receive employment support from the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) are obliged to obtain permit in order to practice their profession in the private sector, indicating that this applies to both lawyers and others irrespective of whether they are registered in Public Authority for Social Security on the third or fifth level.

He indicated that the authority’s measure is in line with instructions from the Cabinet, adding that the authority is just a branch that is responsible for putting decisions and laws into effect.

Source: Arab Times

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