A Kuwaiti minister has dismissed claims that up to one million foreigners would be deported, saying they lacked credibility. “There is no move to deport one million or any other number of foreigners and there are no studies about deporting expatriates,” Hind Al Subaih, the social and labour minister, said.
“Demographic studies focus on the variables of gender, qualifications, social status and the nature of the work of foreigners, in addition to their numbers and ratios compared with Kuwaitis, so that they could be used as database for solutions.”
Kuwait is home to more than 2.5 million foreigners, including 750,000 family members and 650,000 domestic helpers, who make up two thirds of the total population.
Lawmakers have regularly called for drastic measures to limit their numbers, citing security, economic and social issues.
In 2014, a lawmaker called for the deportation of 280,000 expatriates per year for five years to help address the imbalanced demography in the country. “There is a critical need to find solutions for the demographic situation in Kuwait,” MP Khalil Abdullah said.
“We need to have a Kuwaiti population that is at least equal to the number of foreigners who live in the country. Since we have 2.5 million expatriates, we need to bring the number down to 1.1 million in the next five years, which means we need to reduce their numbers by 280,000 every year.”
Reducing the number of foreigners has become a necessity to ease the pressure on the local infrastructure and to eliminate congestions in all state institutions.
“It will also help local Kuwaiti men and women find employment opportunities in both the public and private sectors, especially that there are increasingly obvious unemployment indicators in the country and the list of people seeking jobs getting longer,” Dr. Abdullah said.
He did not mention specific nationalities, although he did say some were more prominent than others.
“The fact that Kuwait is home to twice as many foreigners as locals is a dangerous indication about the social economic and service conditions in the country,” he said.
Expatriates with laudable contributions to the prosperity of the nation and with commendable experience to serve the country and the citizens should not be included in the mass-deportation, Dr. Abdullah said.
“The determining factor should be the experience and contributions of the expatriate, not the number of years he or she has spent in Kuwait,” he said.
Earlier, MP Abdullah Al Tamimi said the number of expatriates in the country should be reduced by more than 1.3 million in five years, arguing that the country’s demographic balance required the imposition of a five-year cap with 20 percent of foreigners leaving Kuwait every year.
“There is an urgent need to adjust the demographic balance in the country,” Al Tamimi said.
“We cannot accept that the number of foreigners is higher than that of Kuwaiti citizens in their own country. Since there are 1.2 million Kuwaitis, then the number of expatriates in the country should not exceed that figure.
“This means that 1.35 million foreigners have to leave the country within the next five years.”
Under Al Tamimi’s proposal, no foreign community should make up more than 25 percent of the total number of expatriates. “This is very crucial for security, economic and social reasons,” he said.
MP Yagoob Al Sayegh attributed the call by lawmakers to limit the number of foreigners in Kuwait to their concerns about the demographic composition of the country.
“I myself had put in a proposal to address this situation,” he said. “They are all personal efforts to find solutions, but we do not have an expert opinion that looks at the situation from various angles,” he said.
Source: Gulf News