Kuwaiti MP Safa Al-Hashem has urged the government to charge expats for using public property and infrastructure as part of efforts to correct the country’s demographic “imbalance”.
Kuwait’s only female lawmaker, who has been extremely vocal about reducing Kuwait’s expat population, said that the government must impose fees on expats who visit public beaches.
“All countries collect fees for using beaches, including the countries of those expats themselves, where they pay the fees,” she was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.
She also said that expats put a strain on Kuwait’s infrastructure and called for imposing fees on them for using the recently opened Sheikh Jaber Causeway, the fourth longest bridge in the world. The $3.6bn causeway connects Kuwait City with Subiyah island.
“I have repeatedly warned, and still do, of the existence of this number of expats – three million compared to only one million citizens, which erodes Kuwait’s infrastructure,” Hashem said.
She also alleged that expats carried out “environmental violations”, stating that they disposed used cooking oil in drains in Hawally, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Salmiya, the Kuwait Times report said.
“Imposing more fees on expats is a must, especially after the chaos and endless amounts of waste they left behind at various beaches and parks during the Eid holiday,” she added.
Hashem has drawn controversy in the past after asking that expats be charged “for the air they breathe” and submitting proposals such as a $3,300 fee for foreign workers to obtain driving licences and a 10-year limit on their stay in the country.
Currently, foreigners account for an estimated 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 4.6-million population and lawmakers argue there are too many poorly educated expats in the country.
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.