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Kuwait’s draft law on expat quotas to exempt domestic workers, those on government contracts

Kuwait’s draft law on expat quotas to exempt domestic workers, those on government contracts

Under the new proposal, Indians must not exceed 15 per cent of the population of Kuwaitis

Kuwait workers

A draft law in Kuwait which seeks to impose an expat quota system in the country to help “rebalance its population” will not apply to certain individuals, local media reported.

The law, which has been cleared by Kuwait’s legal and legislative committee, does not apply to domestic helpers, GCC nationals, workers on government contracts, diplomats and relatives of Kuwaitis, Kuwait Times reported.

Under the new proposal, Indians must not exceed 15 per cent of the population of Kuwaitis – which currently stands at 1.45 million, while Sri Lankans, Filipinos and Egyptians must not account for more than 10 per cent each.

Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Nepalis and Vietnamese should not exceed 5 per cent and other communities have to stay within 3 per cent.

If approved, the law would require some 800,000 Indians to leave the country.

The bill calls for a ban on recruiting individuals from a specific nationality if their numbers exceed the permitted percentage.

It also prohibits the transfer of domestic residences and visit visas to work permits.

Meanwhile residencies of workers who were brought for government contracts cannot be renewed.

A report issued by the legal committee confirmed that the draft law does not breach the constitution and has referred it to the human resources development committee.

The report also suggested that a mechanism must be established for the law’s gradual implementation. Rather than deporting expats, the country will stop recruitment from abroad until the quotas are achieved, it said.

The bill stipulates a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine not exceeding KD100,000 for any public employee who approves the recruitment of a foreigner whose community exceeds the specified number, the Kuwait Times report added.

Last month, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said that the Gulf state would like expat numbers to reduce to 30 per cent of the country’s population – down from 70 per cent at present.

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

Kuwaiti MPs have already called to replace all expat jobs in the government within one year.

In June, the country announced that it will ban the employment of expatriates in state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its subsidiaries for the year 2020-21.

Read: Kuwait will not hire expats in the oil sector – minister

Kuwait’s Municipality also said in May that it would soon dismiss all expat employees and replace them with Kuwaitis.

The decision also called for freezing employment applications from expats, cancelling appointments under process and not renewing the contracts of existing employees.

Read: Kuwait’s Municipality to dismiss all expats, freeze the hiring of foreign nationals

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