Kuwait Parliament

Kuwait Parliament

Kuwait Government freezes Expat numbers

Kuwait has decided to stop expatriates entering the country in order to “fix imbalances” in its population, according to a report.

At its meeting last week, the Cabinet decided to stop the flow of expatriate workers into Kuwait and maintain the current numbers without any increase, allowing newcomers to only replace those leaving, said government sources.  The sources added that the Cabinet discussed several scenarios to solve the demographic composition to help fix ‘imbalances’ that have been studied and discussed since 1989.

The sources said some Cabinet members touted a report noting that “Kuwaitis have become a minority in their own home country”, and stressed that in order to reach a percentage of 40 percent of the population within 15 years, the best suggestion made so far was to immediately freeze current expat numbers and not allow any more into the country unless to replace those leaving for good.

The sources added that according to recent studies, only 17 percent of the workforce is Kuwaiti, while expats number 2,008,885.  The study also showed that 514,000 citizens below 15 and above 65 were excluded from the workforce, while expats excluded from the force number 439,000.  In addition, the sources explained that 855,854 expats do not hold any qualifications or degrees and that the total number of domestic workers is 564,803.

Last year, MP Khalil Abdullah stated that the Gulf state should deport 280,000 expatriates per year for the next five years.

“Since we have 2.5 million expatriates, we need to bring the number down to 1.1 million in the next five years, which means we need to reduce their numbers by 280,000 every year,” local daily Al Rai quoted him as saying.

“There is a critical need to find solutions for the demographic situation in Kuwait… We need to have a Kuwaiti population that is at least equal to the number of foreigners who live in the country,” he added.

Expats at work

Expats at work

During a meeting last week, the Kuwaiti cabinet ruled that it would maintain its existing expatriate population, and allow foreigners into the country only to replace those leaving, local daily Kuwait Times reported, citing government sources.

The cabinet was reportedly shown a report which stated that Kuwaitis have become a minority in their own country, and members discussed ways to “resolve” its demographic composition.

According to official figures, Kuwaitis like other indigenous populations of the GCC countries make up just over 31 per cent of the country’s population.

Several Kuwaiti lawmakers have suggested in the past that the country deport non-skilled workers to reduce its expatriate numbers.

Last January, Kuwait’s government also announced plans to launch a crackdown on illegal residents that could mean the arrest of more than 100,000 expatriate persons.  So far, no update on this has been given.

Source – Kuwait Times

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