Kuwait panel vows to find plan to cut expat numbers, criticizes government inaction

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The Kuwait National Assembly’s manpower development committee announced that it would proceed with legislation and write a report to present to the general assembly on how to reduce the number of expats in Kuwait.

The committee’s head, Member of Parliament Khalil al-Saleh also criticized the government for failing to come up with its own solution to reduce expats in the country, a report by local media Kuwait Times said Tuesday.

Al-Saleh has previously said that Kuwait could cut around 1 million expats in just three months by replacing expats in government jobs and deporting 500,000 low-paid workers, the Times reported.

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Expats currently form around 70 percent of the population of the country, but the bill would propose deporting 2.5 million of the country’s current 3.35 million, a 75 percent cut, by the end of the year.

This reduction would come as part of introducing a cap on certain nationalities in Kuwait, the Times reported.

Indians, Kuwait’s largest foreign community, would be allowed to number no more than 15 percent of the country’s citizens, while Egyptians, Bangladeshis and Filipinos could exceed no more than 10 percent of citizens each, according to the Times.

The Speaker of the Assembly Marzouq al-Ghanem said earlier that this quota system could not be introduced at the moment, and further added that he and other MPs would draft a new bill that would bind the government to gradually reduce expat numbers.

Al-Saleh, however, believes that the government committee formed to study how to structure the country’s population in 2014 has done practically nothing, the Times reported, an issue that has escalated as the economic fallout of the coronavirus begins to hit.

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