Lawmaker warns of ‘too large’ expat communities

Ahmad Al-Fadhl

KUWAIT: MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl yesterday warned against “too large” expatriate communities, saying they could pose a security threat and also highlighted what he called low qualifications of most expatriates in the country. The lawmaker said he has no problem with expatriates coming and working in Kuwait, but there is a certain risk in the large numbers of some communities, adding that Indians, Egyptians, Bangladeshis and Syrians form more than half of the 3.4 million foreigners living in Kuwait.

Fadhl said based on latest available figures, Kuwaitis number just 1.42 million, or about 30 percent of the population, while expats form the remaining 70 percent. He said that the Indian community totals some 900,000, Egyptians 600,000, Bangladeshis around 200,000 and Syrians some 145,000, and together they constitute more than 50 percent of all expatriates, who hail from 120 nationalities. He said the rapid growth in the numbers of individual communities must be checked, because they pose a security danger to the country.

Fadhl also said that Kuwait is not attracting highly-qualified expatriates because these people prefer to go to United Arab Emirates or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, and as a result, the quality of expats in the country is not competitive. The lawmaker however ruled out claims that expatriates compete against citizens for jobs, saying that a majority of jobs occupied by expatriates are not attractive to citizens.

He said some 120,000 expats work in government jobs and these jobs fail to lure Kuwaitis, and accordingly expatriates in general do not take up jobs that should go to Kuwaitis. He said the government should take measures to bring down the numbers of large communities and also prevent the concentration of large numbers of foreigners in residential areas. He praised the government for reducing the number of expats in Khaitan by some 70 percent over the past four months.

By B Izzak