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Kuwait: Replacing public sector expats ‘too difficult’

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Kuwait is not in a position to replace all the expatriates working in the public sector due to the shortage of potential Kuwaiti employees, the President of the Civil Services Commission has said.

Ahmad Jassar said that 78,317 foreigners held positions in the government sector, mainly in the education and health ministries.

“We have regularly informed the competent committees that replacing them would not be possible for the time being,” Jassar was quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai as saying.

Jassar said there were not enough qualified Kuwaitis to replace the foreigners in the public sector.

Figures put the number of adult people without jobs in Kuwait at 12,000.


“We have 8,158 Kuwaitis who do not have the necessary advanced academic qualifications and 3,479 who have no degrees,” he said. “There are also 3,828 Kuwaitis who have only the middle school certificate and 851 who hold high school certificate.”

He added the situation meant any drive to replace foreigners, especially in the health and education sectors, would be highly difficult.

Despite a robust drive by the government to make the private sector more attractive to Kuwaiti nationals, foreigners continue to overwhelm the sector.


Most Kuwaitis opt for government jobs to benefit from the security they offer as they cannot be fired unless in extreme cases. They are also attracted by less work pressure, more relaxed timings, fewer working hours and longer holidays.

According to government labour statistics released in 2016, about 58 per cent of Kuwaitis refuse to work in the private sector and would rather wait for an opening in the public sector.

Recent statistics say 345,100 Kuwaitis work in the public sector, representing 76.8 per cent of the total Kuwaiti labour force.



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