Debate over move to limit expats in Kuwait
Kuwait, February 2, 2014
A proposal by a Kuwaiti lawmaker to limit the number of expatriates in the country by asking 20 per cent of foreigners to leave every year has sparked a heated debate.
Under the plan proposed by Abdullah Al Tamimi 1.35 million expats will have to leave the country in five years, said a Gulf News report report.
“There is an urgent need to adjust the demographic balance in the country,” he was quoted as saying by the Al Rai newspaper, according to the report.
He said there were only 1.2 million Kuwaitis and the expat number should not cross that figure. According to official figures, Kuwaitis make up less than one third (31.3 per cent) of the total population of 3,965,022.
There are 1,499,929 people from Asian countries, making up 37.8 per cent of the total population.
Under Al Tamimi's plan, no foreign community should make up more than 25 per cent of the total number of expatriates.
Many MPs have welcomed the proposal.
However, Hamad Al Harshani, a lawmaker, said that he opposed imposing the five-year cap. There are expatriates whose experience and contributions are truly needed and the state is genuinely benefiting from them, Al Rai quoted him as saying.