One million expats face the push in Kuwait
Over a million expats living and working in the desert country of Kuwait face the prospect of being pushed out as it aims to reduce the reliance on foreign workers in the wake of continuing anti-foreigner backlashes.
The Kuwati government wants to reduce the number of expats by a million over the course of the next decade as the local population grows increasingly unhappy at the number of foreign workers. Up to two-thirds of the entire Kuwaiti population is foreign.
Its social affairs and labour minister Thekra al-Rasheedi said: “The ministry will take decisions and measures aimed at reducing the number of expatriate workers by 100,000 every year for 10 years to reach one million.” The government has also revealed that it will be looking at scrapping the generous subsides offered to foreigners such as discounts on electricity, petrol and water costs and will introduce VAT.
No new work VISAs will be issued after the 1st of April but it is currently unclear that existing expats will be renewed once they expire. Companies will be forced to hire native Kuwaitis with inspection teams checking to ensure that the rules are being followed.
One British expat living in Kuwait City said: “Kuwait seems to be getting more aggressive in letting foreigner workers know they are no longer welcome. But this is a big gamble as it will need to quickly train up a local workforce to do the roles foreigners have been doing for decades.”
As a result of the spate of anti-foreigner sentiment Kuwait is now ranked 137th out of 140 countries in the World Economic Forum’s survey for friendliness.