Kuwait plans to replace expats with 'Bidoon workers' amid anti-migrant sentiment

Kuwait plans to replace expats with 'Bidoon workers' amid anti-migrant sentiment
2 min read
27 May, 2022

Kuwait is set to replace expatriates in the country's private sector with Bidoon, the country's disadvantaged stateless minority. 

The government will set up a platform to register Bidoon seeking employment, according to an official cited by Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas.

Due to the Bidoon's inability to obtain relevant paperwork or access government schools or universities, unemployment among the population is believed to be very high and has led to protests.

Ahmed Moussa, head of the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), told the paper that the Tayseer platform would be launched on Sunday as part of a joint effort with the Central Agency for Dealing with Illegal Residents.

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"This platform aims to put this category of people in place of the expatriate labour to preserve the demographic make-up, safeguard their rights under the umbrella of law and give them the chance [to work] in a way commensurate with their qualifications and leanings," Moussa said.

The move comes amid growing anti-immigrant sentiments among some Kuwaitis, who claim expatriates are a strain on the oil-rich state's resources and hampering Kuwait's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in one of the richest countries in the world by capita.

The Bidoon are a stateless Arab minority group in Kuwait who were not registered for citizenship at the time of the country's independence or shortly thereafter.

They have been denied their rights to citizenship and are discriminated against in healthcare, education and other essential services.

In March, Bidoon activists in Kuwait staged a weeks-long hunger strike in an attempt to pressure the government to give them their full rights.