Kuwait MP seeks five-year cap on expatriates’ stay

Dubai, Jan 30: A Kuwaiti member of parliament (MP) has called for a five-year limit on expatriates’ stay in that Gulf nation that is home to over 700,000 Indians.

The draft bill was proposed by the independent Shia MP Abdullah Al-Tameemi Wednesday to reduce the oil-rich country’s dependence on foreign workers and cut the number of foreigners to a maximum of 124,000 from any country, the Kuwait Times reported Thursday.

The MP’s plan mainly targets low and medium qualified workers, those who are often in lowly paid jobs that Kuwaiti nationals have been reluctant to take up.

The proposal, however, did not include skilled professionals such as specialist doctors, lawyers, judges and advisors.

The bill discourages expats from establishing themselves in Kuwait.

The proposed bill would not allow less qualified foreign nationals to stay more than five years in the country and the stay period would not be extended under any circumstances.

Those who have been granted the five-year visa would not be allowed to bring their family members to the country on a visit visa.

Two-thirds of Kuwait’s total population of about four million are expats. More than 90 percent of the citizens who work are employed in the severely bloated public sector.

Many of the skilled and unskilled foreign workers also occupy a significant number of jobs in the private sector, the report said.

Apart from around 700,000 Indians, who comprise the largest expatriate community in the country, 500,000 Egyptians, 200,000 Bangladeshis, 160,000 Filipinos, 140,000 Syrians and 120,000 Pakistanis live in the country.

According to the latest figure, the number of expatriates in the country has reached 2.7 million.

IANS