Kuwait has deported 13,000 foreigners since the start of year as the government ramps efforts to reduce the country’s foreign workforce, estimated to make up 70% of Kuwait’s roughly 4.5 million population.
The Middle East News Agency reported sources saying that the expatriates were deported during the first nine months of the year for a variety of reasons, including: poor health conditions, labour law violations and after criminal charges were brought against them.
Some were also found to be medically unfit under the Gulf country’s health policies, which prevent foreigners infected with hepatitis C and AIDS from obtaining residency.
The sources said many of those deported held university degrees.
A further 100 people are currently awaiting deportation. “The deportation process is much faster now and deportees no longer spend more than a week at the deportation prison unless wanted over cases still being tried in courts,” the sources were quoted as saying.
Kuwait began a one-month amnesty for foreigners staying in the country illegally in January. The period was later extended to allow more workers to participate.
At the time authorities estimated there were 130,000 people staying in the country illegally.
As part of the wider efforts to reduce the expat workforce in the kingdom, banks have been urged to set a schedule for the phasing out of foreign staff and the limiting of their role to training positions only.
The goal is to cut 17,000 foreign workers from the banking system. The government also wants to fully Kuwaitise government jobs by 2022