Kuwait passes draft law to crackdown on number of expats

People wearing protective masks wait to board a bus at a station in Kuwait City on August 18, 2020. (File photo: AFP)

A panel at Kuwait’s National Assembly passed a draft law Sunday designed to limit the number of expats in the country over the next five years as authorities continue to crackdown on the number of foreign workers, Kuwait-based newspaper the Kuwait Times reported Monday.

The draft law did not list the certain caps or percentages, instead leaving that decision to the government, the paper reported.

Kuwaiti Member of Parliament Khalil al-Saleh, the head of the human resources development committee, said that the panel had written the bill after studying eight different laws proposed by MPs and the government, with the aim of slashing the number of expats in the country, particularly unskilled laborers to ultimately restructure Kuwait’s population, which currently includes predominately expats, Kuwait Times said.

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Although the new law stopped short of announcing specific caps and percentages, it does set a six-month deadline for the government to issue rules on the number of expats allowed in the country, and the number of expats that can be recruited, the Times added.

However, certain categories of expats were listed as being excluded from the new rules including Gulf citizens, judges, aviation operators, domestic helpers, diplomatic corps, mega project workers, medical and educational staff, spouses of Kuwaitis and their children, Kuwait Times reported. Expats within these categories currently account for around 1 million people in Kuwait, the paper said.

Authorities in Kuwait have passed various rulings aimed at cracking down on the number of expats in the country in past weeks. In August, the National Assembly drafted a bill to ban certain types of visa transfers, as well as limits on the number of expat workers.

Earlier, an announcement was made that work permits for expats aged over 60 without a university degree will no longer be issued.

The rules were perceived as part of the overall government plan to cut the number of expats in the country by as much as 360,000 workers. According to this plan, 150,000 of these will be expats aged over 60.

In July, a panel vowed to find a plan to cut expats after criticism was leveled at the government for failing to come up with its own solution to reduce expat numbers.

Expats currently form around 70 percent of the population of the country.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 22 September 2020 KSA 11:08 - GMT 08:08
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