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Kuwait mulling plan that could see 360,000 expats deported in the ‘short-term’

Kuwait mulling plan that could see 360,000 expats deported in the ‘short-term’

The Gulf state is aggressively looking to reduce its expat population

KUWAIT-HEALTH-VIRUS worker expat

A new plan proposed by Kuwait’s government to ‘rebalance’ its population could see as many as 360,000 expatriates deported in the “short-term”.

The plan, which outlines short-term, medium-term and long-term measures to cut the number of expats in the country, could soon be approved by the National Assembly, local daily Kuwait Times reported.

In the short-term, expats who are likely to be deported include 120,000 illegal workers, 150,000 expats aged over 60 – covering employees, dependents and those suffering from chronic diseases – as well as 90,000 ‘poorly-educated labourers’, the report stated.

Longer-term, the plan proposes replacing tens of thousands of expat workers with locals, by adopting technology and tightening the recruitment regulations, officials said.

A committee overlooking the issue has now requested the government to submit timelines for implementing the plan.

Once the government submits the legislation required to implement the plan, the committee will complete its report and submit it to the assembly for voting.

According to Kuwait Times, the committee is also expected to review seven draft laws concerning measures to amend the population structure.

Expats currently account for roughly 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 4.8 million population.

However, the Gulf state would like expat numbers to reduce to 30 per cent of the country’s population, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said in June.

That would require cutting down the number of foreign workers by around 2.5 million.

Read: Kuwait doesn’t want to be an expat-majority nation anymore

Last month, a draft law calling for an expatriate quota system in Kuwait was approved by the National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee.

According to the bill, Indians – who form the largest foreign community in Kuwait – must not exceed 15 per cent of the national population – which currently stands at 1.45 million. If approved, the law would require some 800,000 Indians to leave the country, according to reports.

Read: Kuwait’s National Assembly approves expat quota bill – report

In July, Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem also submitted a proposal to the government calling for the country to stop issuing residency permits to expats aged 60 and above.

The proposal also seeks to deport “all expats undergoing treatment at psychiatric hospitals”, according to reports.

Read: Kuwaiti MP proposes move to stop issuing residency permits for expats aged over 60

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