Kuwait’s expatriate population has plummeted in the past year. Official population figures show that 2020 saw the largest decline in 30 years. There was a slight increase in the number of natives as the expat population declined sharply.
The main reason is the Kovid crisis
It is estimated that the crisis caused by the Kovid epidemic has caused such a large decline in the expatriate population. With the decline in trade, many companies were forced to lay off employees because they could not afford it. Many institutions had to close. In addition, changes in Kuwait’s visa and residency laws and the continuing strong Kuwaiti expansion of the workforce have led to a sharp decline in the number of expatriates.
By 2020, Kuwait’s population had shrunk by 2.2%
According to figures released by the Public Authority for Civil Information, Kuwait’s population will decline by 2.2 percent to 46.8 million by 2020. This is up from 3.3 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, the population of Kuwaiti citizens increased by two percent last year. The number of expatriates also declined by four per cent. With this, the expatriate population of the country has reached 68.7 per cent of the total population. This is the lowest percentage in the last seven years.
1.3 lakh expatriates leave Kuwait in 2020
As many as 130,000 expatriates were deported from Kuwait due to the arrival of the Kovid epidemic and restrictions, including lockdowns. During the lockdown, many companies went out of business and laid off workers. In addition to the loss of jobs, the cost of living has risen, forcing many expatriates to relocate their families. The number of expatriate dependents in the country has declined by 0.3 per cent in 2019 and by 0.4 per cent in 2020.
Employment also declined sharply
In 2019, the country’s employment rate was expected to grow by 4.9 per cent, but by 2020 it will fall to 4.2 per cent. This is due to the mass loss of jobs for expatriates. At the same time, the employment rate among Kuwaitis will increase to 2.1 percent by 2020. In 2019, it was 2.4 percent. The loss of jobs due to Kovid has hit the private sector hard. Jobs fell by 1.2 per cent, while the public sector grew by 2.7 per cent. The move is seen as part of a strong Kuwaiti policy in the country.
However, the employment rate among expatriates declined by 5.2 per cent. The employment rate for expatriates fell by 3% in the private sector and 5.3% in the public sector. The main reason for this is the decline in the construction and real estate sectors.
Most affected are low income earners
The Kovid crisis has hit low-income workers among expatriates the hardest. About 95 percent of those who lost their jobs by 2020 were in the sector. The Public Authority for Civil Information estimates that more low-income expatriates will lose their jobs in earnings as housing laws tighten, repatriation intensifies and more companies are forced to cut workers following the Kovid crisis.