Kuwait mulls new quota system for expat communities – report

New law will seek to ensure that expat communities in Kuwait do not exceed 25-30 per cent of the country’s population



Kuwait is mulling a new law that will impose a quota system for expatriate communities, local media reported.

The law, which could be introduced during the upcoming National Assembly term in October, will regulate the presence of expat communities in Kuwait to ensure that they do not exceed 25 or 30 per cent of the population, sources told Kuwait Times.

“While issuing a quota and dealing with work permits is the job of the executive authority, and treatment of such issues is done by ministerial decisions, MPs seek to remove the burden and embarrassment from the government,” the sources said.

The government could face “some difficulties” when issuing a decision on quotas due to its impact on relations with other countries.

“Therefore, MPs want to link that with a law issued by parliament,” the sources told the paper.

Last month, a senior Kuwaiti official had warned that the country should check the growth of certain expat groups are that now “too large”.

Indians, Egyptians, Bangladeshis and Syrians account for more than half of the 3.4 million expatriates from 120 nations living in Kuwait, Kuwait Times quoted MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl as saying.

The Indian community stands at around 900,000, Egyptians at 600,000, Bangladeshis at around 200,000 and Syrians at some 145,000.

Fadhl said that “he has no problem with expatriates coming and working in Kuwait”, but added that there is a certain risk in the large numbers of some communities.

Read more: Kuwaiti MP calls for curbing growth of ‘large’ expat groups such as Indians, Egyptians

Kuwait has been working on reducing its expatriate population in order to boost nationalisation in the workforce.

Currently, Kuwaitis account for less than 30 per cent of the country’s 4.7 million population at 1.42 million.

Late last year, it was reported that authorities in Kuwait are planning to reduce the number of foreign residents in the country by at least 1.5 million over the next seven years.

Read: Kuwait plans to ‘cut 1.5 million foreign residents’