Manama: Residency permits for some foreigners in Kuwait are likely not to be renewed in an official bid to help address the demographic imbalance hitting the country.

Social Affairs Minister and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al Subaih said that studies are being conducted as part of new regulatory decisions to reform the labour market and remove marginal workers who have no jobs and cannot secure employment.

Such decisions are aimed at protecting workers from any exploitation of their vulnerable situation as well as avoiding temptations to seek money through illegal means in order to survive, the minister said in a statement to Kuwaiti daily Al Anba on Tuesday.

"The new regulations are not confined to expatriates, but also include the Kuwaiti owners of companies who resort to illegal means to hire foreigners in a manner that is akin to trafficking in persons," she said.

Measures that could be taken against the Kuwaitis include suspending the following the decision to refer them to the General Directorate of Investigations and ceasing to issue any work permit to their staff if they are convicted by the public prosecution and told to pay financial penalties.

Around two thirds of Kuwait's total population of 4.4 million are foreigners, mainly unskilled Asian labourers in the construction sector and domestic helpers. Kuwaiti officials have been pushing for an overhaul of the residency system to limit the number of foreigners.

However, the loudest calls have been issued by lawmakers who have been campaigning for the imposition of taxes and strict conditions as a way to limit the number of foreigners in the country.

Several MPs called for introducing a quota system for nationalities to ensure that no expatriate community is allowed to exceed 15 per cent of the Kuwaiti population.

The proposal would affect the Indian community, the largest in the country, with around 700,000 people, the Egyptian community made up of 500,000 people and Bangladeshi nationals, believed to be slightly more than 200,000.