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Expatriate workforce increases despite retrenchment
January 5, 2019, 5:42 pm

The government’s attempts to rein-in the number of expatriates in the workforce were less than successful as new numbers show. Latest labor statistics from the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB) show that the number of nationals in the total labor force decreased by two percent from 2014 to 2018, while the number of expatriate employees increased by over 18 percent.

Despite a 9 percent growth in numbers of national manpower, from 338,000 in 2014 to 369,000 four years later, their share in the total labor pool fell from 19 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2018. In the meantime, the number of expatriates in the total workforce jumped from 1,433,700 in 2014 to 1,694,700 last year, an increase of 18 percent.

Other figures from the CSB report show that female citizens accounted for 56 percent (208,000) of the total national manpower, while men accounted for only 44 percent (160,500). Female citizens also topped expatriate females in the labor-pool, accounting for 55 percent of the women workforce in the country, while expatriate female workers constituted 45 percent (171,000) of female workers in Kuwait.

Among male workers in the labor pool, expatriates overwhelmed nationals, with over nine male expatriates for every male citizen in the workforce. The number of male expatriates stood at 1,523,200, or 90.5 percent of the total 1,683,700 male workers in the country, while nationals were 160,500. Of the total 2,062,000 workers in the country’s labor pool, women accounted for 18.4 percent (379,000) and men the remaining 81.6 percent.

(Edit: The numbers do not tally exactly as the figures were rounded off) In a related story, last week, the Ministry of Health was reported to have obtained approval from the supervisory authorities to extend the work contracts of several category of expatriate workers in the ministry. Health workers in specific categories employed in Sabah, Farwaniya and Jahra medical districts will see their contracts extended at a total cost to the exchequer of KD2.6 million.

It was revealed that the decision to extend the contract of expatriate healthcare technicians in the X-ray, laboratory and pharmacy departments in Sabah Health District, by a further nine months starting from 5 January, will on its own cost KD1.9 million.

Meanwhile, the extension of the contracts of support staff with the same designations in Farwaniya and Jahra health districts will only be for three months, starting from 5 February and is expected to cost KD757,000. Clarifying this contract extension, a source at the ministry of health explained that the decision was taken so as to ensure health services to the public were not hindered, as well as prevent the shortage of support staff at the concerned medical facilities.

- Staff Report

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