KUWAIT: According to research published by the Arabian Gulf Center of Studies and Research, there is a forecast of a heavy outflow of expatriates set to take place in the recent future. The report estimates that a ripple effect of such a demographic change on the population figures would be seen across several sectors in the market and suggests Kuwaiti nationals to look at self-reliance as an alternate option to continue the functioning of their homes and the country’s economy.
While the report makes a hypothesis that the outflow of expatriates would make a positive impact on the environment, decrease the crime rate and balance the social development coffers, this is not supported with any substantial evidence. The report adds that, in the event of expatriates leaving the country in huge numbers, Kuwaitis will be faced with a real possibility that they will have to give up several of the luxury services and facilities that they were accustomed to previously or do it themselves. It further suggests giving up some of the luxuries that Kuwaitis are used to, as a short-term solution, adding that the current nationalization plans may not be sufficient to improve the population demographic structure, as desired by the government.
The report suggests a leaner labor market model especially in those sectors that extend to home services – transportation, delivery, education, marketing, secretarial services and cleaning companies. Giving up these services, according to the report, will have a short-term effect on the labor market, in improving the demographics. The report cites that Kuwaiti families, on an average, rely on an two to three expat employees and take their help as support staff to carry out household chores, transportation services as well as care for their elderly. According to the statistics published by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), the number of Kuwaitis in the country account for 313,000 people with expatriate work force accounting for 700,000 people without accounting for those who reside in the country illegally. This number is expected to increase, according to the report, as Kuwaiti families now have both partners being employed, increasing their dependance on household help, which also puts a strain on the individual and household income.
While the pandemic signified a reduction in the number of expats by 200,000 people in 2021, according to figures published by the Central Statistics Agency, these numbers were back in the labor market by 2022, with the current size estimated at 700,000 people. The report stated that expatriate workers who are qualified to generate revenue for the country, in the form of sustainable development or value addition to the economy, do not exceed five percent of the foreign workers labor force highlighting the scale of dependency on the unskilled workforce. It further said that these types of workers do not have any job stability and often opt for illegal jobs as a means of income.
This has also led to an increase in human trafficking due to the inefficiency of a proper policy meant to recruit domestic workers and have them reside in the country. An increased number of people residing illegally in a country would soon translate to areas or pockets in the country with such residents who would choose illegal ways to make money, as mentioned in a CSR Gulf report published recently, which stated that such people use social media to offer their services. The report concludes by adding that if Kuwaitis reduce their dependency on domestic workers, it is estimated that a quarter of expatriate labor who do not contribute directly to the development of the country and may be staying illegally, may be reduced.