Kuwait: Curbs on hiring expats in public jobs debated

Cairo: Kuwait’s government-owned Petroleum Corporation and Oil Company has expressed views on a draft law related to replacing foreign workers with citizens in state jobs, a policy dubbed ”Kuwaitisation”, according to a media report.

The draft, toughening rules for employing foreigners, was debated at the parliament’s Human Resources Development Committee as part of efforts to create more jobs for Kuwaitis.

The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) had argued that while being owned by the government, they and their subsidiaries are commercial entities under a corporate law issued in 2016 and as such their employees are not public servants, oil sources said. Accordingly, they called for cancelling from the draft an article that regards employment in them as part of the public job definition.

They also voiced reservations on a stipulation that holding public jobs, whether for Kuwaitis or foreigners, must be based on educational degrees. KPC argued that other considerations for employment should be heeded including experience and efficiency, the sources added.

Foreign employee

KPC also pointed out that contracting a foreign employee for one year that is renewable, provided that no Kuwaiti candidate has applied for the same job, could discourage experienced non-Kuwaitis needed in certain jobs. “Procedures connected to calling for applications and filling a job can take up this duration [one year] and a such this restriction can be a discouraging, not attractive, factor, for non-Kuwaitis,” KPC was quoted as saying.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

In recent months, there have been increasing calls in Kuwait for curbing foreigners’ employment amid accusations that migrant workers have strained the country’s infrastructure facilities.

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