A draft bill submitted to the National Assembly by five parliamentarians, calls for slashing the number of expatriates over the next five years.
According to media sources, if approved the law would reportedly see the setting up of Higher National Committee, to be headed by the interior ministry, to oversee the country’s demographic structure so as to arrive at a balance between expatriates and Kuwaiti citizens. Currently, the 1.3 million Kuwaiti nationals make up only 30 percent of the total population of 4.4 million with expatriates accounting for 3.1 million or nearly 70 percent of the total.
The legislation if approved will stipulate that the size of any single foreign community should not exceed 30 percent of total foreigners in Kuwait. At present, Asian and Arab expatriates form the bulk of foreigners in the country, with Asians accounting for 55 percent and Arabs making up 39 percent of the foreign population. The rest of the expatriates, including those from Africa, Europe and Americas, together make up only 6 percent of the number of expatriates in Kuwait.
However, the draft law proposes that domestic helpers, contract workers and children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis should be exempt from this demographic culling process.
A similar draft law had previously been submitted before parliament in its earlier legislative term, but it never came up for debate by the interior committee because of perceived difficulties in implementing it.
Earlier in the month, many parliamentarians had voiced strong opposition to the government’s reform plans that aim to close the widening budget deficit through fuel subsidy cuts and utility price hikes. The lawmakers are particular incensed at government moves to cut wages and streamline jobs in the public sector, which employs more than 90 percent of the national workforce.