THE term ‘expatriate’ means a person residing in a country other than his own, that is, by his choice he went to reside in another country, either for work or for a family circumstance or for his love for the country that he chose or for another reason,” columnist Dr Balqees Al-Najjar wrote for Al-Qabas daily.
The expatriates have always been part of the fabric of Kuwaiti society, in which individuals co-exist in harmony. So why is this social media attack on all expats? Why do voices rise in sharp tones against all expats? Of course, there is understandable deep dissatisfaction with the increasing numbers of marginal workers, and there is also deeper dissatisfaction with the appointment of some expatriates in important and sensitive positions in various state facilities although the Kuwaiti expertise available. “But the question here is: Who caused it? Who brought these enormous numbers into the country? Who hired them these important posts? And who left some expatriates wandering the streets and practicing a new profession every day, entering our homes and learning carpentry, construction, electrical work, health works, and others?
All of these individuals entered the country legally, and the government should have followed up these individuals and made sure they left the country after the expiry of their residence permits since this does not require tremendous efforts. All countries do this and they have more numbers and in millions than we have.
The media and government attack on expatriates in this random manner will not reduce the bulk of the violating employment, because they are originally violators and will not rush to leave as long as the government does not force them to do so.
But those who leave the country are the honest expatriates, who have made Kuwait a home for them, and they may have lived among us more than they lived in their country and their families, and some of them were born, raised and raised their families, and their children were born on the land of Kuwait. This is not a small percentage.
Therefore, I was struck when I heard proposals being circulated for fifteen years of residence, as many expatriates and their families lived in Kuwait for forty or fifty years and did not see themselves in another country. Most of these families who are settled in Kuwait spend their money in Kuwait and have influence in the local economy.
And such a decision threatens the stability of the expatriate and his family and pushes him to leave the country, and we lose the honest loyal expatriates.
Indeed the demographics will change so that the expatriates become a group of bachelors who will collect wealth and leave and others come after them without any interest or consideration for the country, as long as this country and its laws did not treat them as humans and can feel love and belonging to this land, but have treated them as robots that do the job and leave.
We must be aware that the newcomers are part of society, and the government should amend and apply the laws firmly and gradually, without fiery statements and media flair to balance the demographics, and to protect the society so that everyone feels safe and stable.”