Kuwait’s interior ministry has raised the minimum salary requirement for foreign workers to sponsor their families, in a bid to reduce the country’s growing expatriate population, local media reported.
Expatriates now have to earn at least KD450 (around $1,487) per month, up from the previous requirement of KD250, to sponsor their spouses and children.
Foreign nationals already living in Kuwait or those who born in the country and earning less than KD450 will have their cases examined by the director general of the residence affairs department to decide whether they can be exempted from the ruling.
Officials have also confirmed that 14 categories of expatriates will be automatically exempt from the minimum salary requirement.
They include – chancellors, judges, prosecution staff and legal experts working in the public sector; doctors and pharmacists; university and professors at higher institutes; public school directors and deputies, educational supervisors, teachers, social workers and lab assistants; academic, financial and economic consultants; engineers; imams, preachers, muezzins and Quran teachers; librarians at government bodies and private universities; health ministry staff including nursing staff, paramedics, technicians and social workers; social workers and psychologists in the public sector; journalists, media staff and reporters; coaches and players at sports unions and clubs; pilots and flight attendants; and washers and buriers of dead bodies.
The move is expected to prevent thousands of low-paid expatriates in Kuwait from bringing their families to live with them, daily Kuwait Times reported.
According to the report, the average salary of a male expatriate in the private sector currently stands at KD247.
In the past, Kuwait had a similar minimum salary requirement of KD400 for expatriates to sponsor their families. However, the rule was modified in December 2004, reducing the minimum wage to KD250. The move was hoped to balance the demographic of the country, which was strongly tilted towards single male expatriates.
But with the number of foreigners in Kuwait reaching up to 3.3 million – and accounting for almost 70 per cent of the total population – there has been growing pressure to introduce policies to limit and reduce expatriate numbers.
Read more: Kuwait To Freeze Expat Numbers
Recent proposals under consideration include deporting expats that lose their job, according to reports.
In August, it was also reported that Kuwait’s Ministry of Education is preparing to cut hundreds of expatriate teachers under plans to increase the numbers of Kuwaitis in the sector.
Read more: Kuwait to cut hundreds of expat teachers