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15-year cap on expatriates in Kuwait proposed

Lawmakers have been pushing for measures to address the demographic imbalance

Image Credit: Istockphoto

Manama: Amid increasingly louder cries to address the demographic imbalance in Kuwait, a parliamentary committee has started looking into proposals, including a 15-year cap.

A proposal from the Ministry of Interior calls for ensuring that only the necessary expatriates are allowed to stay in the country and the number of expatriates do not exceed 25 per cent of the local population.

Currently, 3,150,115 expatriates live in Kuwait, constituting 69.7 per cent of the total population—Kuwaitis only make up 30.2 per cent of the population.

Indians number around 1 million, making it the largest expatriate community, followed by Egyptians who number at around 700,000.

A committee is currently looking into ways to address the imbalance and is consulting with experts.

Several lawmakers have been pushing for serious and urgent action to address the demographic imbalance, presenting arguments that at times waded into controversy.

One MP said that foreigners should be made to pay fees for using Kuwait roads and for remitting money.

The health ministry last month imposed higher fees on expatriates seeking healthcare.

Earlier this year, Social Affairs Minister and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al Subaih announced that studies had begun to reform the labour market and remove marginal workers who have no jobs and cannot secure employment.

Kuwait has already taken measures to ramp up fees for expatriates including a health fee hike which was announced in August.

The decision was taken after some parliamentarians launched aggressive media campaigns against providing health services to foreigners for free or low prices.

They argued that with the drop in oil prices, Kuwait could no longer afford to foot the bill and expatriates would have to pay more to enjoy living in Kuwait.

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