IOM Kuwait has launched a study on the effects of social networks on Kuwaitâ€™s labour market. The launch also doubled as a consultation for 15 government officials from the countryâ€™s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM).
The study showed that social networks can contribute to a mismatch between the skills of foreign labour and the needs of the Kuwait labour market. Workers can get a job that does not match their skill set, simply because the intermediary â€“ a person in their social network â€“ is able to persuade the employer to hire someone unqualified.
This misuse of social networks can facilitate the recruitment of inappropriate, unskilled foreign workers. It can also be a platform for conducting visa trading transactions.
The key recommendation from the study was the establishment of a new foreign worker permit system built around increasing employment of Kuwaiti nationals, gradually decreasing the number of unskilled foreign workers, and transforming Kuwaitâ€™s economy from labour intensive to capital intensive.
The new permit system would first identify the number of national workers that can potentially fill the available jobs in a certain sector and then set a maximum number of foreign worker permits that can be issued to fill the remaining jobs. This new system would include a national training strategy to ensure that all workers are properly trained to do their respective jobs.
IOM Kuwait Chief of Mission Iman Ereiqat said: â€śThis IOM study has provided an innovative alternative system to estimate the demand for foreign workers. This will help relevant stakeholders to develop mechanisms to efficiently manage Kuwaitâ€™s labour market and its composition.â€ť
The research was conducted through in-depth interviews with employers, employees, members of the employeesâ€™ social networks, community representatives and government officials in Kuwait and two Asian labour sending countries â€“ India and Nepal.
The study was carried out under the Joint Program for the Support of PAM, implemented by IOM, UNDP and ILO, with funding from the General Secretariat for the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait.