KUWAIT: Kuwait has stepped up deportations of expatriate workers this year, a newspaper reported yesterday, with most expelled for outstaying their residency permits but others sent home for traffic offences. In the first four months of the year, authorities deported 14,400 expats, compared with 26,600 in the whole of 2015, Al-Anbaa newspaper reported.

Expatriates make up some 70 percent of Kuwait’s 4.3 million population, greatly outnumbering its 1.3 million citizens. In April 2013, then labor minister Thekra al-Rashidi announced plans to deport around 100,000 expatriates each year for the next decade to reduce the number of foreigners living in the state by one million.

The government made a string of traffic offences punishable by deportation, including skipping red lights and driving without a license, a document difficult for many expats to obtain. Al-Anbaa said most of the deportations were carried out without trial, known as administrative deportations, using controversial powers given to senior interior ministry officials that have drawn criticism from human rights groups. — AFP