By Sarah Townsend
Nationals make up only one-third of residents in the Gulf state
A cap on expat numbers and duration of stay could be introduced in
Kuwait, following discussions among cabinet officials.
Kuwait Times has reported that the country’s cabinet is examining ways
of tackling the demographic imbalance between foreigners and expats.
It said that there are more than 4 million residents in Kuwait but only
around 1.5 million of those are Kuwaiti citizens.
Officials have recommended imposing a cap on the number of expats
accepted into the country – or a labour force quota system – and a maximum
period of stay, although no timeframe was given.
They also proposed introducing a three-month grace period for absconders
to adjust their residency status, with fines for those that failed to comply
with any new rules.
And the cabinet called for the rapid activation of a new forthcoming new
fingerprint system at Kuwaiti borders to prevent blacklisted expats from
returning to Kuwait, as reported by Arabian Business last week.
Kuwait has long called for tougher requirements for expats in a
bid to curb numbers. Earlier this year MPs approved a plan to increase expat
visa fees, and they also proposed introducing a skills test for prospective new
expats before allowing them into the country.
This is precisely what the UAE needs to do. I really wonder how many illegal people live in the country. However, Kuwait is a country that has a difficulty attracting qualified professionals, so most of the expat population are unskilled labourers. It is also advantageous for the UAE to move towards a work-permit system and move away from the sponsorship system with visa quotas.