A Kuwaiti lawmaker who has been leading a drive to reduce the number of foreigners in the country has called for imposing a 10-year cap on employing expatriates. Exemptions may be allowed but only once and in very exceptional cases, Safa Al Hashem was quoted as saying to a Kuwaiti daily on Tuesday.

“The aim is to help Kuwaitis find jobs in the light of increase in the number of foreigners in the country to the triple of the nationals.” “The government should also ban foreigners from bringing their relatives into Kuwait, except for their parents. In such cases, all medical needs and requirements should be borne by the expatriate, and not by the state,” Al Hashem said. “There is an urgent need to ensure that the e-government provides the real needs of large companies for foreigners. We cannot continue to rely on estimates that have caused a horrible demographic chaos,” she added.

The lawmaker also called for increasing the fees of importing manpower from abroad by 100 per cent, except domestic helpers. The higher fees should make people and companies re-consider the easy option of hiring foreigners. However, hiking the fees for domestic helpers would mean extra spending by Kuwaitis, she said. Kuwait is home to 4.4 million people, including 3.1 million expatriates and to 1.3 million Kuwaitis. According to reports, at least 600,000 people from various countries are employed as domestic helpers in the country.