Kuwait is host country to a vast number of overseas contract workers, where 70 % of its population is comprised of expatriates from countries in the Arab region, South and South-East Asia and Africa, who are predominately employed in the construction sector and service industry. The single largest expatriate community in Kuwait is comprised of Indians, whereas Egyptian nationals are the second largest but comprise the largest foreign Arab population. The government of Kuwait does not grant legal citizenship to foreigners except in very rare cases, which leads to temporary labour mobility being the most predominant form of migration, especially from countries in South Asia.
The IOM office in Kuwait was established in 1991, and in 2017 the State of Kuwait joined IOM as an observer state.
Since its establishment, the office has worked in close partnership with the Government of Kuwait on strengthening the capacity of relevant national counter-parts and ministries tasked with the protection of victims of trafficking and the prosecution of traffickers, also including staff of the government-run shelter for female migrant workers, who are potential victims of trafficking and exploitation. IOM has organized several awareness raising campaigns on the topic of human trafficking and the rights of domestic workers. IOM continues to offer technical expertise in associated programmatic areas, including training workshops on the protection of temporary contractual labour and potential victims of trafficking for government and civil society representatives.
- UN Network on Migration and UNSDCF
The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) was adopted by the State of Kuwait in December 2018. This indicates the efforts of the State of Kuwait towards achieving safe, orderly and regular migration. In alignment, the first UN Network for Migration (UNNM) in the Gulf region was established in Kuwait and led by the UN Migration agency, in close coordination with the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO).
IOM Kuwait is involved in the planning and intervention of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between the United Nations and the government of Kuwait. The goal is to achieve the Kuwait National Development Plan 2035, and the Sustainable Development Goals, relevant to the State of Kuwait. Under this domain, IOM will be focus on addressing any topics under the field of migration. The SDG’s tackled under this framework are: 8, 10, 16 and 17.
- Overview of IOM Kuwait projects and activities
- Labour mobility and human development
Within the framework of the LHD, IOM engages in various activities and projects. The major LHD project between the year 2016 and 2018 was “the Joint Programme to Support the Public Authority for Manpower”, organized between 2015 and 2017 in partnership with UNDP and ILO. The aim of the Programme was to contribute to the improvement of migration governance in Kuwait.
The main LHD components organized by IOM were research programmes and workshops contributing to evidence-based policy, planning, implementation and monitoring within PAM (Public Authority for Manpower) operations. The project also had a counter-trafficking component enhancing governmental capacities on protection of vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking.
In September 2020, IOM signed an initiative project agreement ‘STRENGTH’ with the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, the Public Authority for Manpower and the United Nations Development Programme. The project aims to contribute towards the strengthening of Kuwait’s Global Positioning pillar under the Kuwait National Development Plan 2035, predominantly in the context of secondary COVID-19 response, by promoting national mechanisms on good migration and mobility governance, and to enhance the facilitation of labour mobility for an improved recruitment experience.
- Migrant protection, assistance and movement
IOM has also been heavily involved in the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme (AVRR) in Kuwait and the GCC, and the refugee reunification and resettlement programmes including pre-departure orientation training for the host country.
Since 2016, IOM has assisted over 400 trafficked and vulnerable cases in the State of Kuwait, and over 100 in the GCC since 2017. This has been executed successfully in liaison with the Public Authority for Manpower’s government-run shelter for female foreign workers, the Ministry of Interior, IOM country offices of labour-sending countries, and embassy representatives in Kuwait and the region. All AVRR activities were achieved through the financial support of IOM’s Global Assistance Fund (GAF) and Emergency Fund (EF).
- Humanitarian assistance: Fundraising for IOM operations in other countries
To date, the government of Kuwait has donated over USD 55 Million towards IOM humanitarian operations for vulnerable communities. This includes internally displaced persons and refugees in response to humanitarian crises in Syria and other humanitarian emergencies to vulnerable communities in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Vietnam. Click here to watch a short documentary produced in celebration of the 25 Years of humanitarian partnership between the State of Kuwait and IOM.
- Other activities
- Film Screenings under the umbrella of the Global Migration Film Festival
- Photography competition - celebrating success stories of migrants
- Entertainment Days at the government-run shelter for female migrant workers
- Community outreach through awareness-raising campaigns on human trafficking and rights of domestic workers
- Capacity building workshops and trainings
- Support to the government of Kuwait during amnesty period
- Distribution of PPE kits to vulnerable groups as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Donors and partners
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Interior
- Ministry of Social Affairs
- Supreme Council for Planning and Development
- Public Authority for Manpower
- Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
- Government of the United Kingdom
- Government of Canada
- Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development
- International Islamic Charitable Organization
- Kuwait Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies
- Kuwait Projects Company (Holding)
- Ooredoo Telecommunications company
- Telecommunications company
- Social Work Society
- G.C.C. Joint Program Production Institution
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- United Nations Human Settlement Programme
- United Nations Department for Safety and Security
- International Labour Organization
- Contact information
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
P.O Box 63 89
Tel: + 965 2 530 8000
Fax: + 965.2 539 93 54