Kuwait targets 1.5m expat cull in 7 years

Kuwait targets 1.5m expat cull in 7 years

The ongoing drive to reduce expatriates in Kuwait has shifted to a significant phase with reports of a 1.5 million reduction target being set by government officials to be achieved within the next seven years.

The move, part of a worrying widespread drive across Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East to bring more jobs to nationals has seen a series of recent measures from the authorities with, as reported, a recent cull of expats with low degree scores and comments such as 30% of expat community being dubbed “useless” by officials.

The report said that Kuwait could soon implement a roadmap to reduce the number of expatriates by at least 1.5m over the next seven years to bring a demographic balance between Kuwaitis and expatriates. Citing what it called “informed sources”, news outlets Al-Qabas and The Kuwait Times said that the fatwa and legislative department – the Kuwaiti government’s legal body – has been looking into the possibility of setting up a “national committee for the organisation and management of the demographic structure”.

50% nationals
The number of expats in Kuwait now is just over 3.24m with Kuwaitis around 1.4m, so based on figures published by the Public Authority for Civil Authority (PACI), the committee, which was recently proposed by MPs, will need to deport more than 1.5m to make Kuwaitis 50% of the population, with expatriates not exceeding that number, within seven years.

Based on current population growth rates for Kuwaitis, they are expected to reach 1.7m after seven years, the target of the proposed plan. This would mean that the number of expatriates must be equal to Kuwaitis, or 1.7m. To reach this goal, the number of expats must be reduced by a minimum of 1.5m without even considering natural growth or any future recruitment, according to the reports.

NRIs under threat
The expected plan also envisions that the number of any foreign community must not exceed 25 percent of the Kuwaiti population. If this item is to be strictly implemented, then at least 600,000 Indians and 300,000 Egyptians, the two communities that largely exceed the expected limit, will be forced to be among those who will be reduced.

As reported, as part of the proposed plan, 10% of expatriate employees in the government must be replaced by Kuwaitis every year, in addition to five percent in the private sector and recently the manpower authority cancelled thousands of job titles of expats working in the private sector in leading positions due to.

Saudi Arabia’s plans to shed 1m expats has seen a huge reduction on recent years with up to 700,000 having already moved on to other regions such as Kuwait and the UAE.

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Gary Robinson

Commercial Director, Head of Video at International Investment.

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