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The Demographic and Economic Framework of Migration in Kuwait

  • Françoise De Bel-Air
Publisher: Gulf Research Center
Date of Publication: Nov 2013
Publications Categories: Research Papers & Analysis


The Gulf Labour Market and Migration (GLMM) programme publishes its first paper: “The Demographic and Economic Framework of Migration in Kuwait” by Francoise De Bel-Air. The paper gives a detailed most up-to-date overview using the latest national Kuwaiti statistics. As of December 2012, 68 percent of residents in Kuwait were expatriates. Most come from Asia and especially from India (30 percent of all foreign residents). Three-quarters of expatriates are active. They account for 83 percent of the total active population and 93 percent of the private sector’s workforce. Asians are mainly involved in the services and craft sectors, while Arabs more often fill managerial posts. Recent flows suggest a shift in recruitment policies towards upgrading the workforce’s level of qualifications and occupations. Data also show the extent of forced migration from Kuwait: 400,000 Arabs, most of them of Palestinian origin, were forced to flee the country after the First Gulf War. Also, Kuwait’s stateless residents (the Bidun) have been compelled to emigrate since 1985, while those still in the country are considered illegal residents. The GLMM programme produces an array of publications addressing all major issues in different formats. Initially, it focuses on Facts Sheets, Explanatory Notes and Conference Papers. Subsequently, it will add Research Papers, Policy Briefs, Academic Publications as well as Proceedings & Reports. GLMM is an international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC - Florence) and the Gulf Research Center (GRC - Jeddah, Geneva, Cambridge, Tokyo). GLMM provides data, analyses, and recommendations aiming at a better understanding and improved management of Gulf labour markets and migration, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholders. GLMM intends to become an indispensable tool for researchers, students, policymakers, advocates and migrants in, as well as nationals of the GCC countries.

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