Arabic local newspaper Aljarida reported that The government revealed that the demographic problem in Kuwait is a market problem, confirming – according to the Minister of State for Economic Affairs and Minister of Social Affairs, Maryam Al-Aqeel – that the problem is not related to employment personally, but rather to its quality, as many of the existing workers are of low level.
The government confirmed, during its response to the Human Resources Committee regarding the demographics law, which was included on the agenda of last Wednesday’s session, for which a quorum has not reached, that the most important solutions to treat the defect of demographics is the use of technology, reducing support workers, and the smart recruitment of foreign workers.
The committee’s report stated that it listened to the government’s viewpoint, represented by Minister Al-Aqeel, regarding addressing the imbalances in the demographics and the impact of this on the labor market, explaining that the problem of the demographics in Kuwait is a labor market problem. This problem, which is not related to the individual workforce, but the real problem in its quality, as many of the existing workers are of low level.
Then the Ministry presented an executive summary that was prepared with the participation of the authorities concerned with studying the labor market and providing statistics about it, which is the Central Administration for Statistics, which owns the official state system – the labor market system and statistics for all the numbers and qualifications of workers in all sectors, and the General Authority for Manpower It is concerned with the employment in the private sector, which numbered one million six hundred and fifty thousand workers, the “Civil Service Bureau” responsible for employment in the government sector, and the “Ministry of Interior”, which is one of the bodies that affect the solution of the defect in the demographic composition, and The Public Authority for Civil Information, which provides us with the database, the Supreme National Committee for Demographics, and the General Secretariat for Planning.
Representatives of the Public Authority for Manpower explained that this issue represents a great challenge, and the law establishing the authority and several other laws must be amended, so that they can impose complete control on bringing in and recruiting workers. The current situation is that the authority lacks tools, as other government agencies are the ones that issue permits. Work and licenses, which estimate the size of the workforce that the entity needs, without the authority’s knowledge, and government contracts are passed on to the authority without its authority over them. The authority is enforced, according to the law, otherwise it will be judicially referred to it, and even when these contracts expire, the authority is not informed. Instead, workers are left without shelter or work.
The representatives of the commission also showed some amendments to the text proposed by the committee, some of which were taken by the committee.
Opinion of the Ministry of Interior regarding proposals for laws:
The Ministry began by noting the existence of a committee formed according to the decision of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and the Minister of State for Planning and Development No. 52/2014), called “the Supreme Committee for the Study of Population Imbalances” which is very similar to the committees proposed in the tasks, thus the legislative purpose of these is excluded The suggestions, as the Ministry indicated that this committee has followed up the implementation of the procedures and decisions issued by the Council of Ministers regarding the development of steps, procedures and executive mechanisms necessary to activate many of the recommendations that it has concluded, as shown in the attached response.
Opinion of the Civil Service Bureau:
Taking into account that the Civil Service Bureau is the statutory legislator in the field of public employment, and it is more appropriate to set policies for replacing expatriate workers with national workers, in accordance with mechanisms that take into account and respond to the needs of government agencies, in a manner that does not affect the regular functioning of public facilities, and at the same time takes into account the general guidelines adopted by draft laws Calculating; That there are fundamental differences in the implementation mechanisms between the government and private sectors, so he believes that it is appropriate to make an amendment by adding an article stipulating the jurisdiction of the service bureau by specifying the specializations, mechanisms, percentages, and periods required to implement the process of replacing expatriate workers with national workers.
Opinion of the Public Authority for Manpower regarding:
The Fifth Law Proposal:
The difficulty of implementing this proposal, due to the need for the targeted percentages of the numbers of expatriate workers compared to the numbers of Kuwaitis contained in it, to make accurate calculations for them and to reformulate them based on studies that are compatible with the actual reality of the labor market, especially since the number of communities in the State of Kuwait exceeds about a hundred nationalities. The prohibition contained in Article (4) of the proposal regarding the residency of workers after the end of the government project, the Authority has set mechanisms, controls and fees and prohibited some cases, with the aim of not infiltrating these workers into the labor market.
The seventh law proposal:
In principle, this proposal is the most comprehensive one. It contained many good proposals regarding the follow-up of the labor market. However, the proposal needs further discussion and research to avoid any operational and technical shortcomings.
Presentation of committee work
– The committee affirms that addressing the demographic imbalance is an important national issue on which His Highness the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad has given most of his attention and directives for its treatment, and the endeavor to pass this law, which came only in implementation of these noble directives, and to achieve the public interest of everyone on the beloved land of Kuwait, who We share with them humanity, religion or Arabism, as the primary purpose of legislation is an organizational goal, to balance services and numbers of citizens and residents, without prejudice to the rights or dignity of persons.
– The conditions that the country went through in recent times – specifically the emerging Corona virus pandemic crisis – was revealed by the clear imbalance in the demographics, as expatriate and marginal workers in particular suffered from poor living conditions, as a result of their increasing number and their accumulation in buildings, without a breadwinner or income.
The demographic defect represents a major challenge. According to the recent government statement, the population of the State of Kuwait is (four million and 800 thousand), of whom Kuwaitis represent (one million and 450 thousand), and non-Kuwaitis (three million and 350 thousand), meaning that the percentage of Kuwaitis is ( 30%) and non-Kuwaitis (70%), so the matter requires concerted efforts and parallel steps taken by all concerned authorities in order to narrow the gap between the two percentages.
The idea on which the proposals were based on the eight noble and important laws, and similar to a large extent in the legislative goal, which is to restore balance in the demographics, so the committee decided to include what was mentioned in these proposals, and prepare a consensus formula that takes into account the observations and ideas put forward by the concerned government agencies and the members, to reach To a new, integrated, flexible and applicable bill that meets the need and achieves the desired goal
The most important amendments approved by the committee
The committee decided, after it became clear to it that there is a higher committee already formed to deal with the defect in the demographics as stated in the government opinion and not to confuse the government, which has gone a long way in this regard, it is better not to establish a new committee, which will require setting up an administrative and financial system and the time and effort that entails. In addition to its contradiction with the idea of reducing the number of institutions and bodies in the state, the committee did not adopt in the text that the idea of establishing a new body reached.
– The committee agrees with the need to determine a maximum percentage of the number of expatriates, and to regulate their recruitment and presence in the state, but it considers leaving the determination of percentages to the Council of Ministers, so that these percentages are estimated after studying them in a way that does not harm the functioning of public facilities and job needs in both the public and private sectors, and the extent The ability to reduce the percentage of expatriates and replace them with the national component.
– In order to urgently address the issue and continue monitoring and controlling the numbers of arrivals, the text for regulatory purposes is required for the Council of Ministers and based on the proposal of the competent minister – which is determined by the Council of Ministers – to issue periodically the following decisions:
1- A decision that includes the maximum limit for expatriate workers, in a manner that preserves the relative weight of this employment as a whole to the number of citizens, and the relative weight of each nationality separately, within six months from the date of work in this law.
2 – A decision that includes the numbers that will be brought in from abroad to meet the country’s needs.
– Adding a group of obligations on the government to:
1- Establishing a mechanism for testing workers before they are brought in, in order to ensure the quality and efficiency of their qualifications in a manner commensurate with the country’s needs for specializations and experiences.
2 – Providing rehabilitation and training centers to prepare national youth to fill all jobs and jobs, in order to meet the labor market’s need for manpower and government agencies’ needs for employees.
– In line with the international system and diplomatic relations, the law includes some excluded groups, while being careful to keep the text flexible to face any emerging circumstance by allowing the Council of Ministers to make a decision except for any other category not mentioned in the law for the requirements of the public interest.
– With the aim of controlling and regulating the entry and exit of expatriate workers to the country, the law prohibits approval of some measures that may lead to labor leakage between work sectors or between government project contracts, with a penal penalty for violating this ban.
– In order to ensure the delivery of actual results that include the expatriate workers present before the entry into force of this law, a five-year time limit is set in which the government either liquidates redundant workers, or allows them to license and renew residency in the event that the conditions and controls specified by the executive regulations apply.
– To ensure that there is no legislative vacuum, the law stipulates the validity of the decisions and regulations in force before its issuance, provided that its executive regulations are issued within six months of its approval.
The Committee’s decision
After discussion and exchange of views, and as stated in the comparative table, the committee concluded, with the unanimous consent of its members present, to approve after the amendment of the proposals by laws, in accordance with the text reached by the committee.