Kuwait National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a law that requires the government to take measures to reduce the number of expats not needed in the country.

The demographic re-structuring law was passed in the second and final reading after introducing a number of key amendments, mainly abolishing the quota system for expat nationalities living in the country.

The law gives more powers to the government to tackle the severe imbalance in the demographic structure after MPs attempted to issue a strong law mandating the government to take harsher measures.

The amendments in the second reading of the bill include the cancellation of exemptions, such as the children and husbands of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners and other GCC citizens. The bill was referred to the government for implementation.

The population law stipulates that the government will deal with the imbalance in the population structure within one year of issuing the law. These mechanisms will put a ceiling on expatriate workers in the country. The Cabinet will issue executive decisions every year if necessary to implement the mechanisms and will provide the Assembly with annual reports on progress made.

MPs had sought to force the government to gradually cut the numbers of expats over the next five years in a bid to achieve some balance between Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis. The mechanisms will take into account the number of expats at the time of issuing the decisions and the national development plan and its requirement of expat workers, the law states. The plan will also issue guidelines governing the transfer of residence of expats, in addition to policies to replace expats with Kuwaiti employees.