Government jobs in the GCC have now almost completely been filled by locals while expats have been removed from such jobs, so the localisation policy is now being rolled out into the private sector, according to a report in Middle East Monitor.
More than 25m foreigners live in the six GCC countries, representing nearly 50% of the region’s 51m population. According to international statistics, foreign employment in Qatar is estimated to represent 91% of the total population, followed by the UAE with 89%, Kuwait at 72% and Bahrain with 54%.
Economic expert Mohammed Ramadan said the job localisation policies are driven by high unemployment rates among GCC citizens.
Figures released by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics show that 839,200 foreign workers lost their jobs in the public and private sectors during the first nine months of 2018. The number of foreign employees in Saudi Arabia fell by 8.1% to reach 9.58m at the end of the third quarter of 2018, compared to 10.42m at the end of 2017.
In Bahrain, a proposal to replace all foreign civil servants with nationals within four years is now being reviewed by the Cabinet but, in the meantime, a parliamentary committee is also studying a 24-month cap on expat government jobs.
“15% of Bahrain’s public sector workforce is currently expat,” said parliament’s legislative and legal affairs committee vice-chairman Ali Al Nuaimi. The government wanted non-renewable contracts to be handed out on two-year terms, so that a suitably trained Bahraini can take the job immediately afterwards, he added.
In addition to proposing the complete Bahrainisation of the public sector, the Bahraini parliament launched a probe into the government’s recruitment of expatriates. The inquiry will also review the hiring of foreign staff at companies in which the government owns a majority stake.
Meanwhile, Oman’s expat population dropped to 2.04m as of 25 February 2019, or 43.7% of the total population, the lowest level since July 2015, as the Sultanate continued to step up its Omanisation plans. M