Official figures released by the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) revealed that nearly 22,000 expats have had their Kuwait residency permits canceled since January 2021. Others are leaving. Here's why
Official figures released by the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) revealed that work permits of 19,995 expats were canceled between January 12 and March 7.
12,391 of those belonged to expats whose residencies expired having been stuck due to travel restriction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 6,245 work permits were canceled by expats that have decided to leave Kuwait indefinitely and return to their home countries.
PAM recently issued statistics showing the additional cancellation of work permits for nearly 2000 expatriates from Jan 12 till date, reports Al-Rai daily.
In January, PAM published a report that showed that around 12 expats were leaving the Kuwaiti job market every 1 hour.
The reasons for their departure differ, but most commonly it is due to expired residency permits that haven’t been renewed or expats leaving Kuwait indefinitely.
Kuwait’s airport closures and quarantines
Kuwait closed its airport and borders twice during the pandemic. The first time was from March 13 to August 1. Then given the concern over the new COVID strain, it closed again last December as well.
Although the airport reopened on January 1 after Kuwait halted all air, land, and sea travel to and from Kuwait from December 21, passengers arriving from 35 countries are still banned from entering Kuwait without quarantining in a non-banned country for 14 days first.
Of the 35 listed on the travel ban list, are India, Philippines, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, home countries to the majority of expats residing in Kuwait.
Then on February 7, a ban on all non-Kuwaitis from entering Kuwait was put into place until further notice.
A source told Kuwait Times has no official numbers of workers stranded en route to Kuwait, but that there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of expats from countries like Egypt, India, and the Philippines.
Since the start of the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs or received incomplete salaries. Several businesses have closed down, resulting in mass unemployment across different sectors.
In addition, many have pointed out that the constantly changing labor laws are creating instability and making it hard for many to plan long term.
Kuwait population drops
The total population in Kuwait decreased by 2.2%, reaching 4 million and 670,000 people by the end of the year 2020, compared to 4 million and 776,000 at the end of 2019, reports Al-Rai daily.
According to official figures issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), the number of expatriates residing in Kuwait in the year 2020 witnessed a decline of 4% because around 134,000 expatriates left during the period from January 2020 to December 2020.
This brings the total number of expatriates to 3 million and 210,000 people in 2020 as compared to 3 million and 344,000 people at the end of 2019.
In detail, 94% of the expatriates who left Kuwait are men, about 126,000 in number, and the percentage of women who left Kuwait is 6% percent, which is about 8,000.