More than 56 thousand expatriates leave Kuwait in the first half..for...

More than 56 thousand expatriates leave Kuwait in the first half..for...
More than 56 thousand expatriates leave Kuwait in the first half..for...

The National Bank of Kuwait stated, in a report today, Tuesday, that the population of Kuwait witnessed in 2020 the highest rate of decline on an annual basis in nearly 30 years by 2.2%, and the population decreased again by 0.9% since the beginning of the year until the first half of 2021 to reach to 4.62 million people.

The bank said that this decline is mainly due to the continued decline in the number of arrivals, while the number of expatriates continued to decline Kuwaiti citizens on the rise.

In fact, he added, the continued application of job resettlement policies (Kuwaitization) and the weak economic environment due to the pandemic forced companies to lay off employees, which prompted thousands of expatriate families to leave the country.

According to the latest demographic data issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information, the population of Kuwait decreased by 0.9% in the first half of 2021 to 4.62 million after a decrease of 2.2% annually in 2020.

This is due to a decrease in the number of expatriates by 1.8%, while the number of Kuwaiti citizens witnessed a modest growth of 0.9%, and the proportion of expatriates to the total population declined to 68.2%, which is the lowest level recorded in ten years.

The data showed that more than 56 thousand expatriates left the country in the first half of 2021, which led to an increase in the total number to about 190 thousand since the beginning of the pandemic and the start of implementing the closure and precautionary measures in early 2020.

The bank stated that the slowdown in the growth rate of the number of Kuwaiti citizens under the age of 15 continues, reaching 0.1% from the beginning of the year until the first half of 2021, compared to 0.6% last year and 1.0% in 2018.

He added that despite this decline, this population segment, which numbers about 493,000 citizens, represents more than a third of the population of Kuwaiti citizens, which may impose more pressures on the labor market in the future.

He explained that at the same time, the growth of the number of working-age citizens over the age of 15 remained at strong levels, estimated at 2.4 percent, on an annual basis, in the first half of 2021.

Jobs drop

The National Bank of Kuwait stated that the total number of jobs decreased by 4.2% on an annual basis in 2020, and fell again by 1.7% on an annual basis in the first half of 2021.

This is due to the growth in employment of Kuwaiti nationals at a modest pace and the decrease in the jobs of expatriate workers, and the decline in the growth of employment rates for Kuwaiti nationals from 2.1% in 2020 to 1.3% in the first half of 2020, driven mainly by the decline in employment in the private sector by 1.5%, or about 940 citizens.

He pointed out that the public sector maintained the pace of employment at a rate of 1.8 percent, or about 6,200 citizens, attributable to some extent to Kuwaitization efforts. This type of employment will increase pressure on the budget, as the wage bill alone represents about 60 percent of total government spending.

On the other hand, the employment of expatriates decreased by 2.2% in the first half of 2021 after a decrease of 5.2% in 2020, against the background of a 2.2% decrease in employment activities in both the public and 2.8% private sectors.

NBK indicated that the jobs of domestic workers were less affected due to a decrease of only 1.1% in the first half of 2021, and in fact, the government allowed the start of the return of domestic workers to the country as soon as flights resumed, and with the exception of domestic workers, the numbers of expatriate workers decreased By 2.7% as a result of the decline in private sector employment activities.

The bank explained that the main reason behind the decline in the pace of employment of expatriate workers in the private sector, with the exception of domestic workers, lies in the sharp decline in the construction sector jobs by 9.8% and the real estate by 5.1%, in line with the weak pace of project completion and the decrease in activity in the real estate sector during the pandemic period.

The number of expatriate workers in other sectors such as manufacturing decreased by 5.3% and hotels and restaurants by 2.1%.

It is worth noting that expatriate workers with low wages and low skills were most affected by the repercussions of the pandemic, about 94% of the expatriate labor jobs that were lost, according to the National Bank of Kuwait’s estimate.

In addition, job losses and the rising cost of living forced some expatriate workers to repatriate their families, and the number of expatriate families continued to decline, as it continued at the same pace of the previous year, declining by 0.4% in the first half of 2021.

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