Kuwait’s banks told to cut foreign staff

The central bank has urged local lenders to set schedules for the phasing out of expats

Banks in Kuwait have reportedly been told that citizens must soon make up the majority of their staff.

Kuwait times cited banking sources as confirming the instructions following a wider drive to increase the percentage of Kuwaitis in leadership positions at financial institutions.

This has seen the number of Kuwaiti CEOs, deputy CEOs, department managers and section heads increase to 33 per cent at the country’s banks.

The new instructions mean banks must increase the percentage of Kuwaitis holding various banking positions to 70 per cent.

The central bank has urged local lenders to set schedules for the phasing out of foreign staff and the limiting of their use for training purposes only.

The instructions come as part of a wider push by the government to increase Kuwaitisation of jobs.

The finance ministry has told other ministries and government departments to prepare lists of foreign staff to be cut in the next fiscal year as part of efforts to fully Kuwaitise the public sector by 2022.

Read: Kuwait ministries told to begin purge of foreign staff

The Fatwa and Legislation Department recently became the first government body to fully replace its expat staff with citizens, Arabic daily Al-Qabas reported on Monday.

Department director Salah AL-Mas’ad is said to have issued instructions this week to lay off all foreign legal researchers and for the Civil Service Commission to provide candidates to replace them.

The department previously terminated foreign staff in secretarial and administrative roles and will soon issue another for foreign advisors.

After these foreign workers have served their redundancy periods the department will be staffed entirely by Kuwaiti citizens, with the exception of security.