Kuwait has ‘right’ to safeguard demographics
Kuwait has every right to safeguard its demographic composition, the social affairs and labour minister has said. “It is our right as a state to address the demographic imbalance due to the presence of a marginalised labour force and preserve the country’s demographic composition. We will be taking further steps in the days ahead”, Dhikra Al Rashidi, the minister of social affairs and labour was quoted saying in the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Tuesday.
The minister, given the portfolio in December following the parliamentary elections and the appointment of a new government, has been pushing for an exhaustive reform of the labour market.
“We have been particularly keen on addressing all loopholes and issues that have resulted in imbalances and deficiencies. We have started by not allowing the transfer of commercial visit visas in the private sector unless specific criteria are met,” she said.
We could for instance limit the options to experts, specialists, advisors and skilled people needed by Kuwait.” Al Rashidi said that her ministry was not concerned with deporting illegal foreigners. “There are other parties tasked with deporting those are illegally staying in the country. The social affairs and labour ministry is concerned with reforming the labour market,” she added.
Kuwait is home to 2.4 million expatriates, mainly unskilled Asian labourers in the construction sector and domestic helpers, who make up two thirds of the total population. Several people have pressed for addressing the demographic imbalance and reducing the country’s reliance on foreigners. Al Rashidi has pledged to spearhead a campaign to limit the number of unskilled foreigners amid reports that one million will be deported over the next ten years with an average of 100,000 a year. The business community has resisted the reports, warning that it could result in grave economic issues in the country.