A senior Kuwaiti MP has urged the government to approve a draft law to impose taxes on expat remittances.
Kuwaiti MP Safa Al-Hashem, who has been appointed head of the National Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee, said lawmakers will push to approve the bill, Kuwait Times reported.
The bill, first introduced last year, was rejected by the Kuwaiti government, the Central Bank and the assembly’s legal and legislative committee. They argued that it will adversely impact the economy and create a black market for transferring money.
However, the assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee approved the bill last year and sent it to the assembly for debate.
The bill states that foreign workers would be taxed on their money transfers abroad, on top of normal commissions and charges by banks and exchange houses, based on the amount sent.
Transfers of up to KD99 ($330) would be taxed at 1 per cent, transfers of KD100-299 ($334-$997) at 2 per cent and transfers of KD300-499 ($1,001-$1,664) at 3 per cent. Those of KD500 ($1678) and above would be taxed at 5 per cent.
Transactions related to investment protection would be exempt.
The draft law received strong support from lawmakers who complained that expats were sending most of their money to their home countries. Foreign nationals are not allowed to buy property or launch small businesses in Kuwait at present.
The bill is one of several targeting the country’s foreign population, which accounts for around 70 per cent of the country’s 4.6 million population.
In June, MP Hashem, who has been extremely vocal about reducing Kuwait’s expat population, urged the GCC state to expel close to two million expatriates from the country over the next five years to rectify its ‘demographic imbalance’.
Hashem also recently suggested that the government must impose fees on expats who visit public beaches.
She also called for expats to pay fees to use the recently opened Sheikh Jaber Causeway.