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Kuwait’s National Assembly panel passes law to reduce expat numbers

Kuwait’s National Assembly panel passes law to reduce expat numbers

The draft law gives the government six months to determine the number of expats needed by the country

KUWAIT-INDIA-HEALTH-VIRUS amnesty

Kuwait’s National Assembly panel has passed a draft law to reduce expat numbers in the country over the next five years, local media reported.

However, the panel did not impose specific caps or percentages, Kuwait Times reported.

The main objective of the draft law is to reduce the number of expats, especially unskilled labourers, and rebalance the country’s population structure, the report quoted the head of the human resources development committee MP Khalil Al-Saleh as saying.

Kuwait’s population currently comprises of 70 per cent foreign workers, but Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said in June that the Gulf state would like expat numbers to reduce to 30 per cent of the country’s population.

Read: Kuwait doesn’t want to be an expat-majority nation anymore

The draft law gives the government six months to determine the number of expats needed by the country and stipulates that they only constitute a certain percentage of the population.

It also calls for fixing specific percentages for various expat communities.

According to earlier reports, the draft law states that Indians – who form the largest foreign community in Kuwait – must not exceed 15 per cent of the national population – which currently stands at 1.45 million. That would have required some 800,000 Indians to leave the country. Under the proposal, 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.

The only exceptions to the expat quota caps are Gulf citizens, domestic helpers, judges, diplomats, aviation operators, expat workers recruited for mega projects, spouses of Kuwaitis and their children, medical and educational staff and others as decided by the cabinet.

The number of these expats exceeds one million, Kuwait Times reported.

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

The legislation 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.

The draft law will now be sent to the Assembly for debate.

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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