Kuwait nears deal to drastically cut expat numbers by hundreds of thousands: Report

Expatriates wait in line to be tested at a makeshift center, following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Mishref, Kuwait March 14, 2020. (Reuters)

Kuwait’s government and National Assembly are close to approving short-term and long-term measures to cut the country’s number of expats by as many as 360,000 workers, Kuwait Times reported on Monday.

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The government’s plan reportedly calls for deporting 120,000 illegal workers and 150,000 expats aged over 60 which include employees, dependents or those suffering from chronic disease, the news outlet reported citing a member of the Assembly’s manpower resources development committee Osama al-Shaheen. The plan also includes deporting 90,000 marginal and poorly educated laborers.

Minister of Social Affairs Mariam al-Aqeel was asked to submit “timelines for implementation, like setting an exact timetable for the next five years showing the size of cuts each year,” MP Khalil al-Saleh said according to Kuwait Times.

He also said that the government is supposed to submit legislation in order to implement the plan by the end of the week.

“This will allow the committee to complete its report next week and submit it to the Assembly for voting,” Kuwait Times reported.

Data shared in the government plans reportedly show that the “Kuwaiti population grew by 55 percent to 1.33 million between 2005 and the end of 2019, while expats grew by more than 130 percent to 3.08 million during the same period.”

Expats make up about 70 percent of Kuwait’s population, according to Kuwait Times.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 11 August 2020 KSA 15:19 - GMT 12:19