Kuwaiti MPs call for limits on expat numbers

Expats currently make up the majority of the country’s population



Five Kuwaiti MPs have submitted a draft law calling for a reduction in the number of expatriates in the country.

The bill, signed by MPs Khalil Abul, Oudah Al-Oudah, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain, Omar Al-Tabtabaei and Ahmad Al-Fadhl calls for the establishment of a higher national committee to manage the country’s demographic structure, according to Kuwait Times.

They propose that the committee, led by the interior minister, take measures to make the number of expats and Kuwaitis in the country equal in the next five years.

Kuwaitis make up only 30 per cent of the current 4.4 million population, according to some estimates.

Abul said contract workers for specific projects, children of Kuwaiti women from non-Kuwaiti husbands and the country’s 650,000 domestic workers would be exempt from the law.

The draft also calls for limits on the number of expats from a specific country.

Kuwait Times said based on its estimates that the number of Kuwaitis after five years was expected to reach 1.6 million, meaning roughly 2.3 million expats with the addition of domestic workers, contractor workers and children of Kuwaiti women with foreign husbands.

Based on the current numbers, some 800,000 expats would need to leave the country and new recruitment be suspended.

This would particular impact the Indian and Egyptian communities, which total 900,000 and 600,000 people respectively.

If the law were to be approve by the National Assembly and accepted by the government, the country’s Indian and Egyptian communities could not exceed 500,000 people or 30 per cent of the 1.6 million expats.

Abul said the demographic imbalance in the country posed social, economic, security and political risks.

Similar proposals have been made in the past with no debate or discussion.

The country’s large expat population has remained a controversial issue in recent years, with several calls for the number of foreign workers to be reduced by MPs.

In September, one lawmaker proposed expats pass tests to stay in the country.

Read: Kuwaiti MP proposes expats pass tests to stay in the country

A study released earlier this year also called for the deportation of expats that are dismissed or fired, according to reports.

Read: Kuwait considers deporting expats that lose their job

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