A Kuwait lawmaker has called on the Gulf state to deport 280,000 expats every year for the next five years in order to redress the imbalance between foreign workers and locals and to reduce the strain on the country’s infrastructure.
“There is a critical need to find solutions for the demographic situation in Kuwait,” MP Dr Khalil Abdullah was quoted as saying by Al Rai daily newspaper.
“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 2.5m expatriates, we need to bring the number down to 1.1m in the next five years, which means we need to reduce their numbers by 280,000 every year.”
However, the MP conceded that expats who were deemed essential to the continued prosperity of the country should be exempt from the mass-deportation.
“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 added.
The issue has proved to be a hot topic in the Gulf state and the former Minister for Social Affairs and Labour announced last year Kuwait would cut expat numbers by 1 million – or one-third of the country’s population – by 2023.
Arabic daily Al Qabas said private sector companies would again be able to apply to recruit foreign workers from April if they met criteria including meeting nationalisation quotas.