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Kuwait studying expat quota system
March 19, 2014, 9:19 am

Kuwait is considering introducing a quota on the number of expatriates allowed in the country as it aims to halve the number of foreigners by 2023.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al Subaih said the ministry was studying means of implementing such a quota and it was not likely to come into force until a new labour force system comes into effect later this year, the Kuwait Times reported.

The previous minister last year announced Kuwait would reduce the number of expats by 100,000 per year for each of the next 10 years.

The reduction would eventually see the total number of expats halve from about 2 million to 1 million. Expats presently make up about two-thirds of Kuwait’s entire population.

Al Subaih also announced on Monday a suspension on hiring new foreign workers would be lifted from April 1 after new labour laws were finalised.

The new rules remove an exemption on certain professions, although ensure an employee has the skills to match the intended job.

New employees also must undergo a medical examination and cannot have a criminal record in their home country.

The new regulations also crackdown on illegal hiring by targeting employers who sponsor expats who are found working for another employer. In such cases, the sponsoring employer will have its license suspended and he and his relatives will be banned from obtaining a new one for five years.

Earlier this year, Kuwait also mulled the idea of an amnesty on illegal workers, similar to the one implemented in Saudi Arabia during April-November last year, in which more than 1 million foreign workers, mostly illegals, left the kingdom.

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