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Anti-expat Kuwait lawmaker urges tax on remittances

Hashem called for the mass expulsion of foreign workers [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 June, 2019

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Kuwait's only female lawmaker, who is known for her inflammatory rhetoric against expats, has called for imposing a tax on remittances sent home by foreign workers.
Kuwait's only female lawmaker, who is known for her inflammatory rhetoric against expats, has called for imposing a tax on remittances sent home by foreign workers.

Safaa al-Hashem made the comments to local newspaper Al-Rai on Monday, commenting on an Egyptian lawyer who has called for a crackdown on business owned by Syrian refugees in Egypt.

Hashem expressed surprise at the lawyer's campaign, arguing that Egyptians have protested over similar calls in Kuwait.

The lawmaker has previously been involved in a row with Egyptian counterparts over insulting remarks she has directed at Egyptian expats in the Gulf state.

She said parliament would soon renew talks on a draft law to impose a five percent tax on all remittances by expatriates, who make up 70 percent of Kuwait's population.

Hashem also called for the mass expulsion of foreign workers to ensure that Kuwaitis constitute over half of the population.

Foreign workers in oil-rich Kuwait send home billions of dollars a year in remittances mainly to support family members.

Egyptians are the second largest expat group in Kuwait numbering almost half a million.

Hashem has previously demanded other hard-line anti-expat policies that include forcing non-Kuwaitis to pay a tax for walking on streets and banning them from having access to free medicine in hospitals.

Lawmakers have proposed other discriminatory measures including deporting foreign teachers, banning expatriates from driving and a "15-year cap" on foreign workers in the country.

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