Just recently, the government pushed a landmark decision to scrap the use of iqama (residency stickers) on expats’ passports to be replaced by data on resident’s Civil IDs, to which was met with positive feedback not only by lawmakers but most especially the concerned citizens.
Lawmakers Call Out Govt’s ‘Inaction’ Over Issue of Population Imbalance
However, several members of the Parliament have expressed their disapproval at the continuous increase in the numbers of expats in the country, also noting how some of these communities make up more than half of the total number of citizens, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.
Lawmakers described the situation as the government’s foot-dragging in addressing the country’s demographic imbalance as well as manpower allocation.
Under the Kuwaitization initiative, the government is looking to replace expats with citizens in various jobs across several sectors. However, many Kuwaitis still prefer to work for the government and refuse to take on jobs in the private sector.
Some lawmakers waned the government that it is repeating the same mistakes it did in the past, by allowing the population of a certain community to grown beyond control, the way it did with the Palestinians, who made up half of Kuwait’s population prior the Iraqi invasion.
On this regard, lawmakers called out the government to stop recruiting workers from those countries and only limit recruitment to doctors and technicians, as needed. They also demanded the government to follow in the footsteps of their neighbouring countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, who implemented practical measures such as imposing more fees to limit the number of expats in the country.
However, the government does not seem affected by this, as it does not consider approving any proposal to set a certain quota for each expat community or to impose additional fees amid fears that this could lead to a shortage of skilled labourers in the local market, which could ultimately deter its plans to attract more foreign investment.