Kuwait’s finance ministry is reportedly instructing other ministries and government entities to prepare lists of foreign employees to be cut in the coming fiscal year under a wider push to limit public sector roles to Kuwaitis.
Arabic language newspaper Al-Anbaa reports that the government has committed to reducing the number of expat employees in a number of job categories each year to reach a 100 per cent Kuwaiti workforce by 2022.
The finance ministry has requested the lists of foreign workers to be terminated in the coming fiscal year, from April 2018 to March 2019, in order to estimate budget expenses and cut the government’s wage bill.
Ministries and government entities will not be allocated any additional funds in the coming fiscal year except in highly urgent cases, according to the publication.
One government body is said to have requests several million dinars to pay the end of service benefits to the staff that are being cut.
The funds were also requested to make up the difference in salaries paid to the former employees and their Kuwaiti replacements.
Others entities are expected to ask for similar funding at a time when the government is said to be preparing to restructure the salaries and incentives of all government sector workers.
The government jobs that must be fully Kuwaitised by 2022 are in information technology, marine, arts, information, letters and public relations, development, administrative and statistics and administrative support roles.
Kuwaiti political debate has been dominated in recent years by calls to reduce the number of foreign workers, who are estimated to make up 70 per cent of the 4.4 million population.
Last year, the government introduced new healthcare fees for foreigners and said it would stop issuing work permits to expats below the age of 30 in 2018.