Currently, there are approximately 3,150,115 expatriates living in Kuwait. This figure accounts for 69.7% of the total population – heavily outweighing native Kuwaitis. The largest expat community is Indian, with around 1 million citizens, followed by Egyptians at around 700,000 people.
Recently, the Kuwaiti population has been increasing their pressure on the government to address the imbalance of expatriates in the country. A parliamentary committee has been working to address the issue and there has been a proposal of a 15-year cap for expats. This will be put in place to ensure that only necessary expatriates are allowed to stay in the country and the number of expatriates does not exceed 25% of the local population.
A committee, alongside experts, are also looking at other alternative ways to level out the disparity.
However, the proposed changes have not been free of controversy. Several lawmakers have been ferociously pushing for urgent action, claiming the issue of expatriates in the country to be at a critical level and presenting some interesting argument.
One Kuwaiti parliamentary member voiced that foreigners should be made to pay fees for using roads in Kuwait and for sending money to family overseas. Furthermore, the health ministry stated in October that there should be a large increase in healthcare fees for expats. However, a health dee hike was already announced in August so expats are unsure as to why this should happen again.
Earlier this year, Hind Al Subaih (Social Affairs Minister for Economic Affairs) revealed that work had begun to reform the labour market. This change would also include the removal of expatriates who were not employed or could not secure employment despite efforts.
In quarter one of 2017, 2,000 expats were deported from Kuwait and 19,000 in 2016. Government officials stated that many of those deported were citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council states who were removed due to criminal activity. However, another batch of statistics has the 2016 total nearer 26,000 deportees.