Foreign Workers in Kuwait

Foreign Workers in Kuwait Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

It was in 1957 when an official census in Kuwait wan first conducted; prior to that date, estimation was the main source of the proposed figures of the number of inhabitants living in Kuwait. According to the estimates of the Kuwaiti Central Statistics Office (CSO), the population of Kuwait was estimated at 35,000 by 1910, 75,000 before the eruption of World War II and reached 100,000 in the early fifties. In 1995, the population of Kuwait was 1,575,983; however, the CSO estimated the inhabitants of Kuwait at 2.1 million prior the Iraqi invasion in 1990, %26.6 of whom were Kuwaitis. By December 1996, the number of Kuwaitis was 732,403 with an annual growth rate of %3.4, while the number of non-Kuwaitis was estimated at 1,361,486, with an annual growth rate of %8.9.

The population of Kuwait has always been so small that the country has had to rely on foreign workers. Prior to the Iraqi invasion in 1990, nationals of virtually every country could be found working in Kuwait.

In retrospect, however, it is now felt by the government that in 1990 the foreign workforce was too large, outnumbering as it did the Kuwaiti nationals themselves. Present plans therefore seek to ensure that, for both cultural and economic reasons, Kuwaitis remain a majority in their own country.

By 1992 the population of Kuwait had fallen to less than half its number on 2 August 1990. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, nearly 400,000 Palestinians were expelled and most Sudanese and Yemenis (groups suspected of cooperating with the Iraqis) were refused employment. Most of the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers who fled the country after the invasion were not expected to return.

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