Image Credit: Gulf News

Manama: A Kuwaiti official has suggested reducing the number of domestic workers in the country to help keep a demographic balance and fight human trafficking.

"There are too many domestic helpers in the country. The estimated number of about 600,000 is too large and needs to be reduced in order to maintain a balanced population formula," Brigadier Kamel Al Awadhi, head of the Immigration Directorate, said.

"The number also needs to decrease in order to refute accusations of human trafficking. We have to take these accusations seriously in order to protect and defend Kuwait's reputation," Al Awadhi was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times on Monday.

Kuwait has been actively engaged in a formidable fight to ensure better living and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of foreigners, mainly from Asia, amid reports of abuses by some families and companies.

The official said that the establishment of a national shareholding company for foreigners seeking to work in Kuwait would also help confront human trafficking.

Al Awadhi said that the measure to make expatriates provide certificates of clear criminal records before working in Kuwait would apply to those seeking residency visas in Kuwait and not for visiting foreigners.

Expatriates need a minimum salary of KD 250 in order to earn a residency visa.

According to the official, the permission to stay out of Kuwait for more than six months without cancelling residency visas is usually afforded to students who study abroad, holders of Egyptian travel documents with article 22 visas, sick people and the domestic helpers of diplomats.