Kuwait plans law to reduce expat numbers

The government has a complete draft law proposing to “upgrade the residency law”

  
Skyline at sunset in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Skyline at sunset in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Kuwait's Interior Ministry will submit to the National Assembly within two weeks a draft law proposing changes to the residency law as the assembly prepares to complete legislation to facilitate the reduction of expatriates in the country within a few months, a report quoting officials said.
 
Speaking to state-run Kuwait Television, Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh said the government has a complete draft law proposing to “upgrade the residency law”, which will be sent to the assembly within the next two weeks, said the Kuwait Times report.
 
The draft law calls to benefit from the expereince of neighbouring and advanced countries and aims to encourage only those expats that are needed to stay in the country, the minister said without elaborating.
 
The statement is a clear reference to the intention to cut expat numbers, said the Kuwait Times report.
 
Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem also told Kuwait TV that he and a group of lawmakers will submit to the assembly a comprehensive draft law calling for a gradual reduction of expats in the country. He said it is difficult at this stage to impose quotas with specific percentages for different nationalities, in reference to another draft law cleared on Thursday by the legal and legislative committee that assigns specific percentages for various foreign communities, the report said.
 
The speaker said that Kuwait has a real problem in its population structure, in which 70 percent are expats, adding that what is more serious is that 1.3 million of the 3.35 million expats “are either illiterate or can merely read and write”, who are not the people Kuwait really needs.
 
“I understand that we recruit doctors and skilled manpower and not unskilled labourers. This is an indication that there is a distortion. Visa traders have contributed in increasing this figure,” Ghanem said.
 
The speaker said the draft law they intend to file will propose to impose a cap on the number of expats, whose numbers must decrease gradually by stating that this year expats will be 70 percent, next year 65 percent and so on.
 
The draft law also proposes to determine the number of expats that can be recruited every year, including their specialization and other details, he said.
 
Ghanem said the assembly is determined to complete the population structure legislation before the end of this assembly term. The term ends in October and new elections are scheduled for November.

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