• Erbil

  • Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 6:47:27 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 29, 2024 at 6:40 AM

Minister to AWP Expresses Displeasure With the Approach of Bringing Expat Workers

(AWP) - A minister in the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government said the autonomous region’s administration was not pleased with the way foreign workers, estimated at tens of thousands, are brought in.

“Many foreigners come in the name of tourism without the previous knowledge of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs,” Minister Kwestan Mohamad said in an interview with the Arab World Press (AWP).

She said that those workers take on work and consequently the authorities do not know how to deal with them.

She noted, “Any foreign workers coming to the Kurdistan region must come through the companies affiliated with the ministry at that time.”
Last year, official statistics from the regional authority indicated that the number of foreign workers in Iraqi Kurdistan was estimated at 35,000 while the unemployment rate is up to 12%.

A spokesman for the region’s cabinet said, at the end of last year, that a newly enacted law would oblige companies to employ Iraqis at a rate of 75%, against 25% for foreign workers.

Economists in the region warn of the impact of foreign labour on the growing rate of unemployment in light of the current economic crisis.

The labour minister in the regional government also said that the present economic downturn in the region, attributed by the administration to a dispute with the central government in Baghdad over the disbursement of employee salaries, has delayed the release of payments to impoverished families for years.

Mohamad said, “The last salaries received by poor families were in September 2015. There were 88,000 families. The economic crisis has prevented the payment of their salaries. We tried as much as we could to pay them, but the region is currently going through an economic crisis. The Iraqi Kurdistan regional government is unable to disburse the payments of these poor families.”

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Iraq, the number of foreign workers in the country exceeds one million.