Kuwaiti MP demands special debate over increasing expat numbers

Published:  17 Jan at 6 PM
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A Kuwaiti opposition MP is to demand a special debate on the demographic dangers resulting from the high level of expat numbers in the emirate.

Opposition MP Abdulkarim al Kandari is collecting signatures from other MPs in order to force a debate on the so-called dangers of allowing an ever-increasing number of expats to enter the emirate. The thread of the debate is expected to consider the effects of increasing numbers of foreign workers on Kuwait’s demography.

A report in the Kuwait Times states Al Kandari is seeking the government’s position on the issue as well as information on any measures planned to rectify the demographic imbalance. Recently published statistics indicate 3.1 million expats as against 1.33 Kuwaiti nationals, making the expat population number 70 per cent of the whole.

Al Kandari’s actions come several days after another MP demanded the government take all measures necessary to correct the imbalance by the year 2020. Suggestions included hiking expats’ costs of living and imposing punitive taxes, but no suggestions were made as to a practical method of vastly reducing the numbers of foreign workers and their dependents.

Expatriates in the kingdom are due to bear the brunt of vastly increased medical service fees and water and electricity charges, none of which have been applied to Kuwaiti nationals. Local English language media outlets note there are not enough qualified and experienced Kuwaiti nationals available to replace around one million expats workers.

Also reported today was a notice from Kuwait’s Ministry of Heath claiming the service could not manage without its expat doctors, nurses, admin staff and laboratory technicians. According to the report, ongoing projects providing the emirate with a number of new hospitals will need even more expat professionals in order to become viable as heathcare centres.

For example, out of 22,000 nurses employed in healthcare, just six percent are Kuwaiti nationals, with expat doctors making up 70 per cent of the total numbers. The situation as regards dentists is slightly better, with the total of 3,500 including 1,400 Kuwaitis.
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