Latest available statistics from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) reveal the total population in Kuwait of 4.8 million, with 1.4 million Kuwaitis and 3.4 million non-Kuwaitis. This enormous population imbalance between citizens and foreigners, and the wide disparity between different communities of expatriates has led many lawmakers to call for introducing a country-based quota system, and the expulsion of marginal laborers, illegal residents and other undesirables from Kuwait.
The government has now set up a new committee comprising of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, and the Public Authority for Manpower, as well as representatives from a number of other institutions with the aim of monitoring, regulating and adjusting the demographic imbalance in the county.
Realizing that a part of the problem of illegal and marginal laborers in the country stems from the sale of visa by citizens, the committee will also look into ways to close the legal loopholes that allow unscrupulous people to manipulate the law, trade in visas and engage in human trafficking.
The committee is also understood to have proposed several measures and steps to rectify the demographic imbalance by:
- Preventing the increase in the number of a particular community above the specified rate. This is being implemented for security reasons, as well as to reduce the rate of crime, ease monitoring and control measures, and to discourage the monopolizing of certain commercial activities by one or other community.
- Not issuing extensions to residence permits of those aged above 65 in the private sector, as is the case in the public sector. This is being implemented as the committee is of the opinion that those above this age category are not beneficial to the state, except in some exceptional cases.
- Preventing the transfer of residence permit in the private sector to another sponsor until at least five years have passed, to prevent manipulation and to immediately repatriate those who do not want to work with their sponsor or when the work project is completed.
- Stopping the transfer from the public sector to the private sector and allow the government sector to use the labor inside the country for new projects rather than recruit new workers from abroad.
- Increasing the residence fees to align them with neighboring countries to decrease marginal employment and to cope with services provided by existing labor.
- Intensifying security campaigns to control and remove marginal workers and to implement monthly reports on various community populations to rectify any imbalances.
- Imposing fees on expat remittances based on a percentage that would depend on the amount transferred in order to pressurize marginal employment.
- Building of labor cities away from family residences to house bachelors, so as to reduce crimes and to make it easier to monitor and control singles, as well as prevent them from occupying private housing.
- Tightening penalties on those who harbor illegal workers, and reconsidering the existing laws to make them more stringent for residence law violators.