A lawmaker proposed a ‘roadmap’ to help address Kuwait’s demographic imbalance problem by ‘sorting’ the expatriate population based on expats’ financial and legal positions. According to the proposal, expats’ bank accounts should be examined to identify their income levels, and they should undergo training courses in their field of specialty. “Whoever passes stays and is required to pay fees, and whoever fails for two times is deported,” MP Dr Abdurrahman Al-Jeeran told Al-Rai.
The lawmaker reiterated the importance of improving the living condition of expatriate workers in Kuwait, and establishing a system in which only the qualified can stay in the country. “If it is possible, we can force them to enroll in performance enhancement courses based on their fields of specialty,” Jeeran suggested.
“If he passes the courses, then he would be required to pay fees. And if he fails, he is given a second opportunity to pass the course. If he does not in the second chance, he is deported.” On what kind of fees he is proposing, Jeeran explained that they would be fees collected on service provided by the government, and are different from taxes according to the Islamic Sharia standpoint.
“Fees are allowed but taxes are haram (forbidden),” the Islamist lawmaker said while explaining his point of view from a Sharia standpoint. “Fees that residents pay in exchange for state service they enjoy is required and common in all countries,” he said. “In Cairo for example, [foreigners] pay double the fees for hotels, transportation and other services compared to what the Egyptian citizen pays for the same services.”
Jeeran was quoted earlier this week suggesting that Kuwait’s demographic imbalance should be discussed as a priority when the National Assembly resumes sessions late October. “Does Kuwait need 800,000 Indians and 500,000 Arabs with below average educational levels?” Jeeran wondered. He called for controlling the number of expatriates “which has become a concern for citizens and expats themselves.”
Jeeran further called for examining workers’ categories in order to identify the country’s needs for expatriate manpower “instead of flooding the [labor] market with workers that the country does not need, and instead increase the state’s social, economic, security and health burdens.” He suggested more control over the number of domestic workers and laborers based on their jobs, while making sure that only highly trained workers are recruited to carry out development project.
In addition, Jeeran stressed the need for setting a reasonable minimum wage, saying that there are foreigners working in Kuwait for very low salaries through which they cannot meet their families’ financial demands if the standard of living continues to increase.